Blooming in our own time….

Orchid in bloom

I have this orchid plant next to my bathtub, in hopes that that location might be slightly higher in humidity than the rest of the house (Relative humidity in Colorado does not support tropical plants). Anyway, I’ve had this plant for years. I bought it when it was blooming, enjoyed the blooms and then spent several years looking at it with scorn because it was not blooming. My husband would tease me about ‘my under-performing plant’, asking why I bothered to water it.

I’ll be honest, I’d pretty much written it off as simply an oxygen producer and nothing more. I felt slightly let down and a bit embarrassed that I could not get it to bloom or bother to figure out what it needed to bloom. And then guess what… I’m sure you can guess if you’ve seen the picture posted with this blog. It bloomed, not only did it bloom, it currently has four huge, bright, glorious blooms in the dead of winter.

While thinking in the shower, where all great thinking occurs, I had a real ‘a-ah’ moment. The orchid was going to bloom in its own damn time, regardless of my feelings negative or positive. I did support it, in the fact that I kept watering it, but that was it, minimal support. Over the years I’ve put in an absurd about of thought and judgement about this silly plant… and it could not care less.

The a-ah for me was really more of a ‘duh, I’m guilty of believing that I could influence the blooming of the plant, because that is what I wanted to happen’. I see this all the time with my coaching clients, they’ve been hounded, often for decades, by ‘concerned’ family and friends to lose weight, get in shape, do this or do that. Often these clients have tried so hard to do what everyone else has told them they should do, they have tried so hard to bloom for someone else, but time and again they fail to achieve what someone else wants for them. That cycle of criticism, effort and failure is exceptionally painful and paralyzing for people.

So for everyone out there who is worried about a family members weight, physical fitness, bad relationships, etc. you can support, you can ‘water’ but that person is going to bloom in their own damn time. People make lasting change for their own reasons, not yours. Wishing, wanting, demanding, bribing, cajoling, cheerleading may feel like support but frankly it is just an arrogant expression of believing that you can influence the path of another, because that path would serve you. I know that sounds harsh, and I’m guessing many people would bluster and claim ‘I’m doing it because I love them’, and likely that does play a role, but if you want to support someone making a change in their life help them discover their own reasons for doing it, not yours.

This discovery process is one of the things I like most about coaching. Helping people discover their own reasons for making a change, doing something differently, or just experimenting with new things. We have an epidemic of people who have lost their autonomy and are shocked at its power when they rediscover it.

For those people who are struggling, who are being hounded to make a change, you will bloom in your own damn time, and you get to choose what that bloom looks like. Have courage and remember you are in charge and it is your decision what happens next in your life, be the orchid, forget what everyone else wants and decide what you want. Then make it happen!

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