I’m so fortunate to live in a place I consider paradise. It’s a combination of woods, fields, orchards, and swamp. Here in West Michigan, we enjoy four seasons. (Okay, winter can drag on a bit too long some years) We’ve been on this large acreage for years.
In my down time, I love to take my dogs for runs, cut new trails, power walk, cross-country ski, snow shoe and horseback ride. I’ve been all over this property in the past 12 years. I know every inch — or so I thought…
A few weeks ago, I was out walking our property. It was one of those rare, gorgeous days in March. The sun was out and the temperatures were extremely mild. Nothing was green yet, but you knew it was coming.
I was Nordic power walking for exercise. I was approaching my one-hour mark but I was not ready to quit. I just crossed a stream and came to a fork in the trail. I was standing at my husband’s deer blind. Normally I hang a left and follow the trail through a field and ultimately back into the orchards towards the house.
But today was so pretty, I thought I’d test out a new path. My husband keeps a large swath brush-hogged for hunting next to one of the horse pastures. It looked like a perfect good-sized loop to explore.
I knew at the end of this open area, over in the corner, there is an old junk area. Almost every old farm has one of these on their land somewhere. We’re no exception.
As I approached the junk area, I looked through the underbrush. I thought to myself, “boy, there’s some big stuff back there — things I’ve never seen.” I needed to investigate. As I ducked under branches and wove my way back into the junkyard, I was surprised at how large the area actually was. There was A LOT of stuff back there!
The years have been slowly swallowing this area with underbrush. For most of the year, this area is so thick you couldn’t begin to see beyond 8 feet. However, on this day, the green foliage was not out yet. I had a clear view once I got back in there.
Wow. Here was this old Chevy truck. I’d never seen it before! How does something this large stay hidden from view? I have no idea what year this truck is. However, I swore I learned how to drive a stick-shift on an old farm truck just like this when I was in high school out west! I wonder what kind of stories this old truck could tell.
I’d been by this area 100s of times. This was the first time I’d ever noticed a virtual graveyard of large farm equipment and vehicles buried back behind the junk area. They’ve always been there — I just never noticed them before. The timing was just right today.
As I departed the area, in awe of what I just found, I thought; our careers are like that too. Information is presented to us all the time. But what do we picked up on? What do we notice? What do we put into use? It’s all in the timing.
Careers change. Life changes. Information that is available to you all the time will only register in your mind when the timing is right. Can you use this information to improve your life or your career? Will it enhance your job somehow?
When I first started attending grooming seminars and reading books, I was like a dry sponge. I soaked up so much information so fast. It was fun. It was exciting. But then it kind of leveled off. I wasn’t gathering nearly the amount of information I was early in my career.
As I gathered experience, I become more selective about what I retained. When I was first learning to groom, there are priorities I needed to focus on first. How to do you get a pet clean? How do you blow out the coat perfectly? How do you remove mats and shedding coat? How do you get a smooth clipper cut? I wasn’t ready to learn about breed profile trimming. I wasn’t ready to learn about balance and symmetry. I wasn’t ready to learn about the finer details of grooming. Running a business. Managing staff. Mastering marketing. But as I understood each new skill, I was ready to learn more. I was climbing that imaginary staircase, one step at a time.
I’ve been developing my career for over 35 years. Just like with finding that old truck, it was all in the timing. As my career has unfolded, I learn new things all the time. Most of the time, it’s nothing new or revolutionary. But it is to me. It’s fresh and new — to me. The timing was just right for me to apply this new tidbit of information.
Your career and personal development will be like that too. Never stop learning. Always be ready to gather new knowledge when the timing is right. You never know what you might discover.