BY: KEISHA JOHNSON
It’s funny how nature speaks to us and gives us clues to thrive as human beings. I like nature walks to clear my head, thoughts and vision. On a stroll to a nearby waterhole, I paused on the banks just to reflect and observe my surroundings when I noticed a lonesome plant flowering among the rocks. How on earth did you survive in this weather and terrain I thought?
Not only was the plant out of season, it was out of place. It was such a refreshing surprise! I was intrigued and encouraged by its resilience. The sight spun my mind to some advice a keynote speaker once gave a young frustrated executive at a professional development conference years ago. “Bloom where you are planted,” the keynote had said.
At the time the advice seemed harsh. The young professional was at her wits end because of what sounded like an impossible work environment. But instead of encouraging her to find the next exit, the keynote challenged her to rise to the occasion much like the delicate little plant I saw flowering among the rocks out of season.
This is the essence of blooming where you are planted. The notion rids us of every excuse for failure or for performing below our potential wherever we find ourselves.
It’s an assumption to take responsibility for our success even in the most adverse or unfavourable situations because we recognize that the power to fulfill our potential and flourish resides first within us.
Dr. Remi Ojo had this in mind when he and his wife arrived in Canada on a professional visa in the 1980’s. They were pharmacists and Canada needed more pharmacists. When they arrived, like many other professionals they found themselves at a disadvantage for not having Canadian [work] experience. Not knowing anyone, the Ojo’s sought to network to get integrated into their new community.
“I didn’t just send out resumes, I went door to door,” the educator and entrepreneur told. Eventually he was recommended to one pharmacy that did not have the capacity to employ him but they recommended him to another who did.
“That’s how I gained access when we first came,” Dr. Ojo who now owns and operates the Guardian Corporate Pharmacy in Scarborough, Ontario, recounted. He took initiative and responsibility to do what was necessary to get his career goal in motion in spite of the seeming odds stacked against him. He was committed to bloom where he was planted because of the bigger goal he had in mind to make a better life for his family.
Today Dr. Ojo also serves as an adjunct faculty at the Toronto Institute of Pharmaceutical Technology in Ontario as well at the University of Technology in Kingston, Jamaica. He is a Preceptor for the Ontario College of Pharmacists providing the requisite work experience and mentorship that pharmacy students need for their licensing.
Like Dr. Ojo, when you bloom where you are planted you operate with the bigger picture in mind. Each decision and choice you make is taken to move you toward that end. Challenges and setbacks become stepping stones instead of anchors for defeat. Your perspective becomes “no matter what, I will thrive.”
To bloom where you are planted suggests that you let the best of you shine no matter who is looking on. It means your internal motivation outweighs the expectation of praise or affirmation from others. It fuels the diligence and excellence that makes your work recommend you, your good reputation precedes you and your talents create room for you.
Blooming where you are planted makes you attractive even to people who would rather not like you. Why? Because you don’t fixate on what’s expedient or even ‘what’s fair’ to get ahead, you are focused, resilient, a team player and an exemplar! You thrive because you’ve learnt to bloom wherever you are planted!