There are few more symbolic times to reflect on your life than at the beginning of spring. For those in the northern hemisphere this is an annual time of rebirth – in England, the pink blossom, bluebells and daffodils herald the promise of a bountiful summer ahead.
Alongside rushing off to a recently-opened theme park or having the first chilly trip to the seaside, for many, the first May Bank Holiday weekend is about getting the house and garden ready for an enjoyable summer. The DIY stores and Garden Centres do a roaring trade, and suddenly there is a long list of “projects” to complete.
Everyone of us has periods like this in our careers. We come to the realisation that we have been putting off vital changes for too long, and we enter a time of contemplation and revision. The comparison with DIY is an interesting one in my view – sometimes the project will be a feature of the house for decades, and at other times the effort may be in vain. How many times have you painted a room only to decide that the shade of paint wasn’t quite right….
DIY is about doing something with the right intentions, but realising that it will rarely be permanent. The décor of your house and the design of your garden is fluid, as is your career, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give it every ounce of your effort.
Here are 4 DIY activities, which could be applied to our careers:
Destroying. Anyone, who has undertaken serious remodelling of their home will know the perverse pleasure of knocking down a wall with a sledgehammer. Sometimes you have to destroy to create. You may have invested a decade on a certain career path, but sometimes you have to turn your back on everything to start afresh.
Fixing. Just because the bathroom tap is leaking doesn’t mean you need a buy a new one. Often the simplest of jobs can fix the most annoying of problems – a cheap washer and ten minutes of your time will probably do the trick. In your career, the smallest changes can also have the biggest impacts. You might not have hit your sales quota for a few months, but that is no reason to give up. The quick fix is always possible, you just have to experiment and find the right solution.
Building. There is something magical about creating something out of nothing. Whether it is a shed, a loft conversion or a treehouse, you take a blank canvas and dedicate yourself to its creation. It is a little daunting to begin with, but as you start building you take it step-by-step, and it soon comes together. Any new start in your career is a similar journey, complicated by the fact that you may not have any instructions or a map to guide you. However, if you likewise take an iterative approach, you too will get there in the end.
Planting. The effort of planting a few bulbs, herbs or even your own veg (something I am personally passionate about) and seeds will bring eventual rewards as your garden explodes into a mass of colour, fragrances and foods in the summer months. With water and a bit of weeding, even the most philistine of gardeners can create a haven of beauty. Investing in your career is just as important. That coding workshop that you thought you would pop along to may have no bearing on your current role, but you never know what it might lead to in the future. There are very few such investments that will have no return whatsoever.
So, on your return to work after your “spring break”, have a good think about what DIY activities would benefit your career over the coming months.