• Laura

ROOTS (a series) - part three

Taking advantage of time away from work, despite the transition from being

"in the weeds" to now pulling weeds

Once upon a time, we knew absolutely nothing.

Nothing about life, nothing about relationships, nothing about the world, or nature. Nothing about our jobs, much less the credentials required to acquire one, and oh yeah, retain one.

Yet, we figured it out. We invested in ourselves and develop skills.

Through our Roots series part one and part two, I’ve discussed the importance of reflecting on how our parents, our faith, and most recently how our talents/hobbies have likely shaped us personally and professionally. #personalgrowth and #selfdiscovery are on-going, and we are constantly evolving. If there was ever a time that we should understand that point, it’s now. When our lives feel as though they’ve been turned upside down in many, or almost EVERY way.

We can’t forget our skills. Though they may grow rusty at times, we still have them. We need to value them and believe in them, to keep pushing forward as we figure out our next path. We need to also learn, to continue to grow our skill sets so our options for movement multiply.

At every turn upon our journey, we learned, got inspired, invested in ourselves, developed into the people we are today. At certain points in our journey, we took to specific skills that would mold us as spouses, parents, and career people. We all have different strengths and weaknesses, which we have learned to masterfully promote, or on the contrary... sometimes even hide.

Unfortunately, we can grow comfortable and content with the skills we excel at because they are natural for us. I find it interesting that for so many it’s taken a pandemic to force us to remember them and turn to those skills. We find ourselves highlighting those skills to get a new job, start a business, or soothe a wounded ego. Or for those that are empowered by deep self-reflection, we remember secondary skills from earlier years that we can turn to, polish, to apply to our next chapter.

As Gladi and I interview Innovator after Innovator, to get to the root of why they started their new ventures there are certain constant variables and parallels within each person’s story. One of those is they are reminding themselves of old skills that they forgot they had and reignited them. We’ve even done that ourselves, as we launched H&F Redefined.

There is no doubt that our skills come from our roots.

If there is one core thing that I have personally learned from furlough/pandemic life, it’s the importance of having diversity amongst my skill set. That’s an area I worked very strategically on for many years leading up to hitting those peak career days, probably the reason I hit what felt like was my “peak” fairly early. However, I fell into a bit of a trap. Not a hugely critical one, it could have been worse, but I acknowledge I got complacent with focusing on every single thing I needed to be to become a superstar for a certain brand or certain role I had my sights on, never thinking an industry like hospitality would get dismantled.

Regarding the brand I was so loyal to, my thought process was always, “I’ll leave them before they leave me.” That wasn’t from a snobby or arrogant standpoint, it came from a place of integrity and work ethic. Meaning, I’ll never allow myself to fail for them. I’ll never allow myself to be unethical. I’ll never allow myself to do ANYTHING fireable. So I was all in. I stopped networking outside of hotels, even with industry people and vendors unless they directly impacted my property or brand. I stopped training on things that appealed to me outside of my industry, which in hindsight would have rounded out my knowledge as a business professional. The business professional I now am chipping away at figuring out how to be.

There's a big world out there!

Now, in all honesty, much of this was due to my personal life taking off a bit as well. Getting married, having babies, trying to squeeze in time for a #girlsnightout here and there, and then obviously loving and supporting a family… it’s a hell of a lot to juggle for a career girl. Not to mention, I was constantly finding myself saying the infamous hospitality phrase:

Say it with me now, “I'm IN THE WEEDS!”

I was like a broken record. “I’m so sorry, but I’m IN THE WEEDS!”

“I wish I could join, but girl, I am IN THE WEEDS!”

“Hunny I can't make it home on time, I’m literally IN THE WEEDS!”

I got tangled in those weeds!

And now here I am, without a paying job, trying to find out what’s next, yet finally giving myself the attention I deserve to self-train and develop some of the skills I never had time for. Building a website, navigating social media, networking as a natural introvert, content creation, and my favorite....writing.

Funny what happens when you suddenly have extensive time on your hands.

Who has been dabbling in gardening, and taking more care of tending to your home landscape? Not me, my husband is the passionate one about this. Let’s not act like you expected me to raise my hand. However, I've heard so many stories about those of you that have been and I admire you so much. Gloving up and pulling those weeds (from the roots!).

One day, during furlough life, Gladi told me she missed my call because she was “out pulling weeds.” Then I saw a celebrity on a talk show saying her favorite new quarantine skill she’s learned is “pulling weeds.” She loves the satisfaction of getting that full root out of the ground. Small addicting victories I guess. I kind of get it. I can't help but laugh though.

Is this actually what we are excited about these days, honing our weed picking skills?

Then I have a friend whose company held them off from being furloughed as long as possible, however in the interim had the managers showing up to flush/clean toilets, and yes...pull weeds.

Humbling right?

She has a college degree, spent years working her way up the ladder to land her dream job only to find herself heading into her corporate job day after day, pulling weeds with the rest of her team. Plus one for team bonding I suppose.

It’s important work though. It has to be done. We can’t let the weeds take over and overrun our homes, our gardens, or the curb appeal of a business.

So we get down in the dirt on our hands and knees and pull those suckers out. Millennials aren't necessarily as accustomed to this duty, yet here they are, rolling up their sleeves. Developing new skills, and developing new personal limits.

My Grandpa had the gift of the green thumb. It was a quality I loved about him and will forever live in my memories. He took so much pride in his gardens and maintaining his beautiful grounds. There was a story behind every flower and plant.

My husband has the same green thumb. It’s a characteristic I discovered after we were married. A delightful surprise you could say. I find it so endearing that he too takes so much pride in our landscaping, and does it all himself. It's like he finds fulfillment and enjoyment out of pulling the weeds. Yet, he's a highly educated engineer with a master's degree and my daily reminder that you can never have enough skills. It reminds me of my beloved grandpa, my roots.

Be grateful for the time you’ve had to reconnect with your yard, your home, and the land. Be grateful for the therapeutic nature that something as repetitive yet rewarding as weed picking can be. Be grateful for the time you've had to develop new skills and invest in yourself. When was the last time you could

fully focus on nothing else but yourself and doing things like pulling out those ugly weeds from the roots?

We went from once being “in the weeds,” to now rediscovering or learning skills such as pulling weeds. Every skill we have shapes us, and the more we nurture each one, the higher

probability I believe we have to REDEFINE ourselves.