time to grow, agile

Time to Grow

Have you ever felt stuck? Restless? Listless? Lazy? Or had trouble finding joy in activities that have brought joy to you in the past? Just me? I didn’t think so… These feelings are normal and could be for a number of reasons – change of season, change of life, change of job. But it is more likely to be because of something you LEAST expect. It may be time to grow.

I have been talking to a number of clients and colleagues about a common theme: What’s next?

Do I:

  • Specialise?
  • Generalise?
  • Focus on a particular thing or combination of things?
  • Do more of something?
  • Do less of something?

And what I’m noticing is that while these are great questions to ask, what we should be doing is acknowledging how far we’ve come, and asking if our current environment is still providing opportunities for growth. If it’s not, then we are no longer growing, which then leads to those feelings of being stuck.

If you’re not green and growing you’re ripe and rotting – Tony Robbins

When we’re younger and less experienced, we find growth opportunities everywhere. A new role, a new friend, a new job challenge. The possibilities are endless. In the right environment, we can be continuously offered opportunities to grow and stretch. We live with a type of yearning for more, bigger and better (but in a healthy way, not in a ‘keeping up with the Joneses way).

Ideally this should be the case throughout our lives and careers, but let’s face it, no organisation is perfect, and not every company can cater to our growth needs – especially us life-long learners. So try as you might, there is a BIG possibility that at some point you are going to outgrow your environment.

How do we know it’s time to grow?

How do we know we’re outgrowing? Well, the first indications can be feelings of loss, listlessness or laziness. For achievement-oriented people, this can be stressful: where is this coming from?  And the thoughts of overachieving/outgrowing are far from our minds as we try and grapple with these feelings. We treat our situations like there is a gap, something missing. Maybe we’re not doing or learning ENOUGH?

We outgrow our environments far more often than we realise. It might feel initially like we’re not moving forward, but what we’re really doing is risking going backwards. And because we don’t recognise our symptoms, we try and fix said symptoms with cures that might ease the suffering but don’t actually address the cause. In fact they may make it worse. We go on another course, learn a new skill, seek out a mentor or coach to work on where we are NOW as opposed to explore where we could go instead.

Sound familiar?

What to do when it’s time to grow

Look back – Look at your goals from 5+ years ago. Where are you compared to where you wanted to be? Chances are you’ve smashed your goals or achieved something else (something better?) entirely. Take a moment to congratulate yourself and realise it’s time to set new, bigger goals.

Look forward – What do you want people to say about you when you’re not in the room in five years from now? Be real – how might you make an impact? Any meaningful impact is going to come with its glowing compliments and raw feedback. What are the ups? What are the downs? Really try and imagine what this might look, sound and feel like. Who might feel uncomfortable as you make this impact? What kind of negative feedback would you love to hear as it means you have made a difference?

Look at your current environment – Is it going to propel you forward or hold you back? Chances are it’s not going to propel you forward or it already would have. It’s time to change your environment and create the space to continue to grow.

I’m committed to some big goals next year. How about you?



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About Emma Sharrock

Emma is the author of The Agile Project Manager: Thrive in Change with Agile. An experienced change leader, Emma is passionate about working with people to facilitate successful change. Emma utilises Agile techniques, coupled with the Agile mindset to coach leaders and teams to achieve their business goals.