Yesterday I wrote this blog post for Training Journal, about how to refresh ourselves in our professional life. It was inspired by seeing a stagnant stream on a walk.

This morning I went on a similar walk and saw some plant life that reminded me of two things: blooming in adversity and perspective.

Blooming in adversity 

Where I walk it’s full of what we would call weeds in our gardens – lots of ivy, nettles and all sorts, as well as nicer ferns and blackberries. flowers1

Whilst walking along I saw this one flower blooming in amongst the tangle of everything else. With yesterday’s blog on my mind and knowing that there are many of our L&D colleagues in organisations that don’t support modern work-learning methods and feel frustrated, this one flower made me think about being the one person doing something despite all that’s going on around.

I remember an organisation I worked in where I seemed to be the one L&D team member taking a consultative approach with our internal customers. It seemed obvious to me, to ask what they wanted, what the problems where and how we would know we’d made a difference. The clients felt listened to, like they got what they needed as well as what they wanted. Of course I often felt frustrated with my colleagues – I sometimes felt that they were the tangle, offering training menus where I was trying to encourage whole different recipes and cuisines!

I learnt from those experiences, I achieved successes, I learnt from failures. Seeing this one flower made me realise how just one bloom can make such a difference.


On the way back from my walk I came to the point where I’d seen the one flower. And I was pleasantly surprised – on the other side there were lots of those flower heads!

Sadly my photo doesn’t capture it as well as I saw it, lots of pale white petals adorning the green wild mound of foliage.


This made me smile and think about how a change of perspective can make all the difference. Where I had seen a lone flower, there were actually many!

This is about connecting with others – they could be in your team or department, or more widely in your organisation. Arguably the wider organisation may be more valuable in you learning about what people and the business need and making a difference.

It’s also about connecting with others in your profession and wider to it. It can be the same old LinkedIn, Twitter, conferences, local CIPD, whatever. The point is finding like-minded and also challenging people where we can all learn, work and support together.

That way we can all be gorgeous flowers in a sea of verdant vegetation.


  1. I’m guessing you don’t know the pretty white flowers you saw were bindweed. To all intents and purposes as much of a pest in the wrong places as ivy, nettles and brambles. It’s little trumpets of white a sort of compensation! Bindweed twines around other plant stems, smothering them in the process. They are not easy to remove either as the roots if broken are able to regenerate from the smallest sections. It can become an invasive nightmare.

    I’m wondering if that gives a change of perspective also? Does it describe even further the L&D you see & encourage? Does it describe another side to the sea of trumpets (in L&D)?

    I’m really curious!

    1. Hi David,

      I did know it was a ‘weed’ yes, but I didn’t realise it was bindweed! Well, the original observation still stands, however with a bit more knowledge comes more reflection…

      Yes, could be a whole other post now about how people with out of date (which is different from traditional) knowledge and practices are affecting our profession and what organisations can achieve.

      Ah well… gardening knowledge updated, thank you!

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