Weed or Wildflower…
‘Tis the season when the wildflowers begin to bloom in the meadow where I walk my dog. I’m a big fan of the colourful array of varying shapes and sizes. I love how they find a spot and just go for it. Prickly thistles spiking out next to delicate daisies and bluebells hanging around alongside perfect poppies. They build their own world, without any human interference. They are diverse, they are beautiful, and they are wild.
It makes me consider the more traditional garden, with neatly arranged plants and flowers. Colours, shapes, and heights chosen carefully and cultivated with care. Time invested watering, deadheading, and pruning to get the best out of each plant. They are tidy, they are beautiful, and they are tame.
Perhaps you identify as a plant. Preferring to know where to stand. To be supported with your growth and to feel looked after. Maybe the boundaries offered to you by a landscaped border feels reassuring. Knowing who’s in it with you, that your ideal teammates are sharing the soil effectively feels supportive. Being placed in the right spot, with the exact combination of sunshine and shade to allow you to thrive is just what you need.
Maybe you identify as a wildflower. Preferring to find your own way. To be able to land and expand in a way that suits you. Maybe the freedom offered to you by an open space feels exciting. Knowing you’ll get to meet new and different people along the way and find your ways of working together feels inviting. Being able to choose your own spot, based on what you want and need to thrive seems ideal to you.
Perhaps you work in a manicured garden type of organisation. Everything is structured, ordered and planned. There are policies and processes that help you navigate through your working world. Maybe there are people who look after you, your wellbeing, and your growth – the experts who nurture you.
Maybe you work in a meadow type of organisation. Everything is unstructured; it’s iterated as you go and changes often – there is no clear A-B here. There aren’t set ways of doing things and the boundaries are not clear. Maybe you must take care of your own development and performance – you nurture yourself.
When a wildflower makes its way into a manicured garden, it gets called a weed. It doesn’t fit the perfectly planned aesthetic. It’s taking up space meant for the chosen ones. Perhaps it’s not as pretty. Maybe it’s too spikey. It gets unceremoniously pulled out by its roots and sent to the compost bin. If you’re a wildflower, being in a manicured garden type of organisation can feel restrictive and frustrating.
When a plant is placed in a meadow, it seems out of place. It doesn’t know how to thrive in the wild. It may not be able to share its space with the other flowers, needing more sunlight or water than can be shared. Perhaps its roots get entangled with a boisterous plant. Maybe it feels lost without boundaries. It feels unloved and fails to thrive. If you’re a plant, being in a meadow can feel intimidating and disorganised.
There is no right or wrong way to be as an individual or an organisation – there are just different cultures, styles, and preferences. Finding a workplace where you are valued for who you are and what you bring, where your skills and style are aligned to how the organisation works is one great route to joy. Where will you thrive?
I’m more a wildflower than a plant. I’m not a big fan of rules and I’m not keen on being told what to do and where to go! When someone says ‘we should create a new policy’ I shudder and if I encounter a laborious process, you will find me running for the hills. I am often found saying let’s create a flexible framework. I like to hang out with lots of different people and I like to chart my own course. That’s why I have my own meadow to play in (AKA my business), to create, to explore and to develop. I do enjoy my excursions to the manicured gardens too, safe in the knowledge that I can return to my meadow at the end of the day!