Many of us have heard the phrase, “Bloom where you’re planted.” Some say there might be a Bible scripture origin to this saying, and others say it comes from an ancient Celtic saying. Regardless of the origin, this memorable mug-worthy saying seems to be a life quote tossed at people when they’re unhappy where they are.
The idea is similar to “make lemons out of lemonade” or make the best out of whatever situation you’re in. Grin and bear it. Stick it out. Find the silver lining. You get the point.
We Want to Be Virtuous
This used to be one of my favorite phrases. It seems very virtuous, doesn’t it, to make lemons out of lemonade? Or to find ways to succeed in difficult situations? Of course.
… until you realize this one thing: People are not, in fact, plants. And we have legs, not roots. Therefore, if you’re in an untenable situation, you don’t have to try to grin and bear it, make lemonade, or even bloom.
You can get up and leave.
Do I think getting up and leaving is the solution to all problems? Of course not. But neither is sticking something out unless you’re sticking it out for a purpose. For example, you might be in a tough spot at work, but you know that if you can make some lemonade out of the lemons it’ll benefit your career. Fine then, enjoy the lemonade.
If you’re unsure what you’re getting out of it, it might be time to pull up your roots and move on.
I remember listening to John Maxwell, a leadership guru, speaking about development and growth. He said that anything worth having is an uphill climb. He said that if you’re not being challenged, you are coasting, and coasting will only continue at a slight decline.
I don’t think this means that we have to sit and be unhappy, trying to “bloom.” The uphill climb, I believe, comes in issuing ourselves a challenge to move. Moving is a challenge. Leaving the comfortable or familiar — even if it is hurting our souls — is hard.
But sticking it out is harder.
I had a plant on my desk and it was doing just fine. Bloomed and everything. But one day, I moved it and put it in a bigger planter in a different part of the house. And guess what? It bloomed so much more.
< Of course, another plant that I moved totally died. So, before you move, make sure you’re moving to a hospitable location, please. >
My point here is simple: You’re not a plant; you’re a person. And you don’t have to let your roots grow in rocky, inhospitable terrain. You don’t have to bloom where you’re planted — you can leave.
And sometimes leaving is best.
Sarah C. Moffat is a mom, civil servant, community volunteer, and leadership coach. She’s also a dynamic speaker, published author, and business storyteller. Applying her real-life experiences, she conveys how individuals and organizations can create opportunities for success and growth through impactful communication and leadership. Moffat is host of the Empowered podcast and has been a featured keynote speaker and panelist across the US and beyond. She also serves as the Vice President for Communications on AFFIRM’s Board of Directors. Moffat is Prosci® certified and holds a B.S. in Psychology and an M.S. in Management and Leadership.
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