Life Lessons from an Office Plant

My dear friend Morgan gifted me this plant nearly a year ago. It was during a particularly hard time professionally and that stress was spilling over into the rest of my life. My relationships, family, and health were suffering and I was at a breaking point mentally and physically. The hilarious pot was always a bright spot in my day, a reminder that I would get through this. And as I watched the plant grow, I realized that no matter where I moved it in my office, its tendrils always stretched back toward the sun.


Shortly after, there was an emergency evacuation of our building. I packed up the plant and a few other essentials, headed to a temporary location, and never looked back. As far as I know my kids’ school pictures are still in that office.


This plant, and that period of my life taught me so much.


I will survive. So will you.


Debilitating grief, stress, loss, professional uncertainty, career burnout, a world wide pandemic, economic upheaval, political unrest. The past couple of years have been freaking HARD. But day by day, we’ve survived. And day by day, we can learn to thrive. Focus on how far you have come, give yourself grace for how far you have to go.


Always lean into the light.


No matter how dark circumstances seem, there are bright moments in each day. Lean into them. Write them down. Take time each day to be truly grateful for the good in your life.


Reach for the things that make you grow.


Like the sun if you are an office plant, or goals and dreams if you are a human. Reach for them even if they are hard. Even if it seems like every time you find yourself making progress, an outside circumstance moves you back across the metaphorical damn office. There’s always another path, another direction. Keep stretching.


Houseplants can’t walk on their own. People can.


Probably obvious, but as I walked out of my office for the last time carrying the plant and my favorite Sharpie, I realized the job was completely out of alignment with my core values: flexibility, freedom, and autonomy. I couldn’t expect it to change and no one was going to carry me out. It was up to me to take the first steps away from what was no longer a good fit for my employer or myself.


When I speak with friends or clients who feel stuck professionally, I often tell this story.


There are very real obstacles to overcome when chasing your dreams, whether that means expanding your current business, going back to school, or starting completely over. It took several months for me to put my small business, and my entrepreneurial mindset, back together and feel comfortable walking away. It wasn’t easy, but it was necessary.


And a year later, the plant and I are both enjoying the light.