Maj. Latoya Smith, 50th Comptroller Squadron commander. (Courtesy photo)

Maj. Latoya Smith, 50th Comptroller Squadron commander. (Courtesy photo)


Most of us are familiar with the idiom “bloom where you are planted.”  Over the generations, people have attributed bloom where you are planted to the Bible, and while not exactly correct, the idiom does have a connection to the Catholic Church. The Bishop of Geneva, Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622) is credited with having said the following:

“Truly charity has no limit; for the love of God has been poured into our hearts by His Spirit dwelling in each one of us, calling us to a life of devotion and inviting us to bloom in the garden where He has planted and directing us to radiate the beauty and spread the fragrance of His Providence.”

Despite the origin of the idiom and the number of times you’ve heard it, I ask you to consider a revisit from a different perspective.  We can’t always choose the cards we have been dealt, but we can learn to play them.  There are many ways to bloom where you are planted but here are three to focus on:  control your thoughts, search for opportunities by taking risks and make the most of each day. 

An old Chinese proverb says, “Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words. Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions. Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits. Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character. Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.”  All this to say, we must take dominion over our thoughts because they are the wellspring of our lives. 

Every dream, business, decision or goal starts with a thought, which hopefully puts things into action with a positive result.  However, we must understand along the way there are going to be bumps in the road that may cause us to question ourselves and abandon our efforts.  One technique that helps me to power through these bumps is to take stock of what I have.  Instead of wishing for ideal circumstances, look for things you can appreciate right now. This can help you develop the positive attitude necessary to bloom.  For example, maybe you don't love your job, but do you have coworkers you like? Are you learning skills you can use later on? Are there other things about your life, such as relationships, that make you happy? Focus your energy here.  Once your thought life is in check, you open yourself to seeking new opportunities to grow.

The likelihood of someone just giving you a promotion or the job of your dreams is pretty slim without some work.  We are all familiar with building relationships and staying in the present but true growth requires a certain level of risk taking.  Rather than viewing your current circumstances as defining, see them as something you can rise above. No situation is ever completely stagnant, thereby always leaving room to take risks and grow as a person.  Be willing to step out of your comfort zone and if it doesn’t work out, just take it as a lesson in preparation for a future position. The great thing about taking risk- it’s never too late.

Tomorrow is not promised, so make the most of each day.  When you step back and look at the bigger picture, it is not about us, it’s about the people we interact with on a daily basis.  My philosophy is there is something I can learn from every person I come in contact with and there is something I can pass on to them.  What we fail to realize is true growth comes from investing in other people.  You may not think you have much to give but there is someone in your work center, sports team, peer group or neighborhood waiting to receive knowledge, advice or a kind word from you.

Blooming where you are planted has become quite a cliché but only if you let it.  If you are truly looking to grow and bloom in your current situation, change the way you think by valuing what you already have, take a risk in accepting opportunities outside your comfort zone and make the most of each day by looking for someone to invest in.