Career stalling? Need a boost? It is all about technique

Misty Raney Bilodeau is one of the stars of Homestead Rescue, a very snackable Discovery Channel makeover show.

The twist for this version of the tried and trusted format is that the Raney family turn up at the homes of Americans who have moved off grid.  They have left the modern world and are living in the wilderness, trying, and failing to make a success of man versus nature.   The families fall victim to predators (bears, coyotes, wildcats); the weather (snow, tornadoes, desert conditions); and their own idiocy (building a home in front of a collapsing mountain, buying a property with no water, or with contaminated water, with no source of food or ending up having to travel 100s miles to earn money to sustain their supposed bucolic aspirations).

The Raney family, long term Alaskan Homesteaders, arrive to rescue them.  Marty, the patriarch, with his casual disregard for health and safety and love of a JCB digger and a nifty turn of phrase.  Matt, the son, eager to get the family trained in shooting at predators with rifles or bows.  And Misty, the epitome of strong femininity and resourcefulness.  She normally sorts out the food problems with an inventive approach to animal welfare and growing vegetables.

Without too much exaggeration, after you watch a couple of episodes, you will probably agree that Misty should be the next president.  She’s open, warm, inspirational, practical, resourceful, inventive, and empathetic.

However desperate the situation is, Misty will come up with a solution.  As she once said: “You can grow food anywhere, it is all about technique”.

She frequently repurposes apparent junk into greenhouses that can successfully grow food. In one episode she rebuilds a school bus into a fertile hothouse.

In another episode she adapts the fertisilation system for crops of acquaponics, using water from fish ponds to fertilise crops, to “duckquaponics”, to create a real breakthrough on a homestead with little water, lots of ducks and an arid garden. 

Misty empowers the food growers and care givers in the families she helps (who are predominantly women) by giving them techniques for growth.  To get Misty to help, you do however need to live on a Homestead.   For those of us that haven’t embraced that lifestyle there is another way to get tips and techniques for growth at work.

As March 2024 marks another International Women’s Day that has seen little progress in terms of lessening the gender disparity globally, we all need to make efforts to be inclusive and equitable. Understanding and sharing techniques, and pragmatic strategies for success at work are a crucial part of this.  The Glass Wall, success strategies for women at work and businesses that mean business is a best selling book that I wrote with Kathryn Jacob OBE, published in 2012.  It contains many solutions that will help grow women’s careers, just as Misty has techniques to grow gardens.

The book is designed to answer a range of frequent and common issues, issues that many of us have sleepless nights over, from: Do you worry that you’re getting less than your fair share at work?; to do you worry about what people think of you?; do you take the steps you should to progress your career?; Are you sometimes overlooked? Do you ever take things personally?; to do you have any difficult relationships at work? And do you know how to back down?

For one woman we interviewed for the book, the solution to feeling overlooked, lay in changing the language she was using for making suggestions: It is easy to mistake a rejection of your suggestion as a rejection of the idea. Of course it is. Frequently you may find that the rejection is a rejection of the format of the idea, not of the content of that idea. The format of any suggestion is as important as the idea itself. In this instance “Sara” bounced back from an outright rejection by using a football analogy. It is so simple, but it was just luck that she arrived at it. Before you take an idea to your boss, your client, or your team, think about the very simplest way that you can explain it. Find out what they’re passionate about – it might be sport, it might be art, it might be education. Use the language of their passion to explain your thinking.

Misty maintains that she can grow food anywhere under any conditions, we think that you can grow your career under most conditions, but sometimes you have to try new techniques and strategies to change the circumstances around you at work to grow your career.

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