Scattered around my house are approximately ten Cuban oregano plants.
They explode out of mason jars and thrift store flowerpots with thick, fuzzy leaves. When you rub those leaves your fingers come back with a delightfully spicy smell. My wife uses them in the place of regular oregano in all sorts of recipes.
But that’s not why I have so many of them. They have taken over as our houseplant of choice because a few years ago I learned:
- You can put a branch of Cuban oregano in water and it will sprout roots. It’s the start of a whole new plant.
- And as long as you give that plant even a little bit of attention, it will grow and thrive like gangbusters.
So from one plant that I got at the garden center (I named it Abuelita because she’s the grandmother of all the others), I now have a small army.
My wife calls these my “validating plants”. Even if I try to grow something else and fail, these ones keep plugging along. They remind me that even if I struggle with thyme, or if my bean plants don’t produce much, I still know how to grow Cuban oregano.
And that validation is important. Because when you are trying something new, it’s easy and normal to fail. That goes for plants. And it goes for any endeavor when you are trying to grow as a person or professional.
New skills take time to hone. New products or services don’t always make a splash the first time. And sometimes you write blog articles that don’t get a lot of traffic.
Referring back to validating experiences is a practical process that can insulate you from despair. When you can look at past successes, you can frame your current challenges as temporary and surmountable.
So instead of getting stuck in your failure, you can move past it. You can use that validation as a tool to pull yourself out of a funk.
Don’t Be Afraid to Find Validation Regularly
Let’s be really clear, this isn’t a success strategy, this is a success tactic.
This isn’t something to just think about. Refocusing on successes that validate you and your work is something that you can and should use on a Thursday afternoon after you’ve lost a sale/found out your marketing campaign flopped/killed another tomato plant.
There are two steps to make this validation process work for you:
The first is to collect your validating material. This can be anything from a folder of emails that mention positive work accomplishments to your LinkedIn Recommendations to a sales report that shows you kicking butt.
(It also helps to have a few validating people in your corner. Those positive people and super-fans are also a great way to bolster your confidence.)
The second step is to refer to that collection whenever you need to. When you are feeling discouraged or disappointed, go to that collection and remind yourself that you have been successful in the past.
And that you can do it again. Even if you aren’t knocking it out of the park at that exact moment.
The goal here isn’t to ignore where you need to grow and improve. There’s always room for that.
The key to moving forward is making sure that you have the confidence to move forward.