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Hands holding tomatoes.

I am a great work horse. I’ve known this about myself for a while. I am terrific at being delegated to and working under deadlines. I love having tasks and checking them off as I complete them. I think that’s why I was always such a great student. It makes me an effective employee.

But when left to my own devices — as I am right now in developing a side gig — I get anxious and overwhelmed. I procrastinate. I let it fall by the wayside. This blog is a perfect example. As much as I love writing and expressing my thoughts and I intend to be consistent with it, no one is expecting me to do it or depending on it to get done. So I get lazy and don’t do it.

I need hand-holding when I’m pursuing something on my own — when I don’t have a taskmaster or deadlines. I need hand-holding when I’m learning something new because the unknown scares me. Wow, I sound really needy.

BUT, I also know that once I learn, and once I put a structure and routine behind any project, I am successful at it. I can be trusted to get the job done well and on time with minimal supervision.

This got me thinking how important it is to be self-aware about how you work best. You don’t want to put yourself in a position or set goals that are not compatible with your work style. You’re setting yourself up to fail.

You must know thyself.

As much as “being my own boss” is the ultimate work dream, it may not go well for me. At the very least, I’d need a business partner to hold me accountable, at least at the beginning. That’s really the biggest motivator for me — knowing there is someone counting on me. It’s easy to make excuses for myself, but I would never want to let anyone down. 

What are your motivators? What is the way you work best? Do you need to be on a team or left alone? These questions matter. If you don’t figure them out, it’s going to be a rough road ahead. You may keep falling short and wondering why.

Think about what a tomato plant needs to 1) produce fruit and 2) not die. Sunlight, water and soil working in harmony to get the plant to its sweet spot. And every single kind of plant is different. How much more so for humans — with our endless emotional, mental and physical needs? We are the neediest organism of all.

It’s not enough to discover what you want to do or like to do. Figure out the ways in which you thrive, then purposely seek out those environments.

Pursue the ways you work best and you will produce your best work.

A happy plant produces good fruit. A happy person produces good work. And that’s really what the world needs from each one of us.


Photo by Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash

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