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Bloom Where You Are Planted? Maybe Not.


These two pictures were taken within minutes of each other. These daisy patches are across the street from each other and presumably have the same soil content (I didn’t test it, but I’m guessing), get the same rainfall, and are both backed up to office buildings on a university campus near me.

The difference is that one gets sunshine most of the day and one doesn’t. Guess what? The patch that gets the most sunshine currently has the most daisies in it.


I see phrases that are often meant to be encouraging in some regard, but fall apart with critical thought, and one is “Bloom where you are planted.” The fact of the matter is, we often try very hard to bloom wherever we find ourselves, in whatever career we end up in or whatever role we are pushed into or choose, but sometimes we just cannot. We are missing some critical ingredient to our thriving and success, and we may not even know what that is. (Actually, often we have no idea the specific thing missing.)

In fact, picking up and moving to another daisy patch is an option many times for us, and it is something you shouldn’t feel bad about pursuing, no matter what the well-meaning signs at the home store would have you believe. The place across the street that seems exactly the same at first glance might actually be the place where you finally thrive and bloom -- it might provide just the right measure of sunshine for exactly who you are. It is important to try to do your best in your career and particular job, whatever it is, yes, absolutely, but there is also a moment when you realize you aren’t your best self. And you don’t have to just bloom where you are planted.

And if your coworker didn’t thrive in your office, maybe they will do well somewhere else; everyone has skills that can be utilized in the right place, and it only looks bad on you if you assume the worst of them when they strike out for something new.

Similarly, as a reminder for managers, sometimes the person who wasn’t blooming under your particular structure may succeed immediately under a different manager, in a different building, in a new structure. I’ve heard managers wonder if people who weren’t doing well under them are failing now, when in fact those people are thriving, happy, and successful. Don’t be surprised when people who move on do indeed find a better patch of sunlight for themselves. And when that happens, it is always good practice to look back inside and wonder what you could have done better yourself as a manager. The key to success wherever you are is self-assessment and striving for personal betterment.

So go, find your best patch of sun and the best place for you to thrive, and bloom THERE.

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