“[A person]’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth…Just as a gardener cultivates his plot, keeping it free from weeds, and growing the flowers and fruits which he requires, so may a [person] tend the garden of [their] mind…By pursuing this process, a [person] sooner or later discovers that [they are] the master-gardener of [their] soul, the director of [their] life.”
– James Allen, As A Man Thinketh, 1903
You are not a machine and it’s important to not treat yourself like one. So if new seeds don’t sprout right away that’s totally normal. Everyone’s plants don’t blossom at the same time and some might need more attention than others. Allow yourself grace, rest, and joy where possible.
Our days are filled with moments, both personal and professional, that require problem solving. Solving problems in product often requires taking risks, evaluating all the options, trying something creative, or going against “how it’s always been done.” Don’t be afraid to embrace your unique strengths and share your thoughts. Your unique perception is and always will be a value add because there is no one like you.
Failure: When you fail, you learn; and when you learn, you grow; and when you grow you evolve. Rinse and repeat! Being open to being wrong, changing your mind, and growing in new directions has positive ripple effects, and that impact can change the world.
My formal bio:
Alison is a product manager, award-winning founder, and international speaker. She is the founder of Product Manager Garden, a platform that prioritizes a holistic approach to learning product skills. She is also the founder and President of WITPGH; a 501c3 nonprofit that centers community, advocacy, and education to acquire emerging skills and technologies for those from nontraditional backgrounds.
What’s really important:
My name is Alison and I’m the gardener behind this digital space. I took a bootcamp to break into tech because I thought coding was the only way to be successful (it wa$n’t), thought maybe it was a good idea to go back to school (it wa$$n’t); I started losing my mental health, money, and general zest for life as I career pivoted to find something that didn’t leave me feeling unfulfilled (in life and in my bank account). Then I stumbled on the role of a product manager and just knew. And turns out a history of trial and error sets one up unusually well for a product management career because you’ve become a well-rounded jack of all trades!
The problem was I didn’t have actual product management experience or a general understanding of how to get hired. Determined to make it work, I spent a long time figuring out the core skills required and the best ways to position my unique strengths to companies. Taking a step back to prioritize a more balanced approach, I carved out a pretty good product manager career blueprint as a result. Now I’m eager to share how others can do it too (albeit, faster and minus all the headaches).