I was asked an interesting question the other day, “What’s something new you learned this week?”

I thought about it and there are two things I learned that I believe we can apply to our lives.

1. Bonsai is not a type of tree, but rather a style.

2. I don’t want to be a bonsai (and you shouldn’t either)

My whole life I thought a bonsai tree was some sort of miniature tree, but really, it’s just a style of a myriad of trees. At its core, the word bonsai means “tree in a pot.” It’s a Japanese art that mimics a miniature replica or representation of life and the trees can only grow as big as the pot they are in.

Now I’m by no means demeaning the care, artistry, or green thumb required to shape and mold the trees, but here’s the problem… so many of us live our lives like Bonsai trees.

We let other people dictate who we are by labeling us and stuffing us in proverbial pots. We’re molded and shaped by society and if we’re not careful, we find ourselves not as who we want to be, but a representation of who someone else wants us to be.

Are you the caretaker of the bonsai known as your life? Are you crafting your goals, beliefs, and dreams, or are you just art in someone else’s garden?

Secondly, have you checked the pot that you’re in lately? What I mean is, are you in an environment that encourages growth or captivity? The sad thing is this. As a leadership development speaker, I get to work with people all over the world as it pertains to career mobility. Though others try and limit our growth, often, I see people put themselves in a small pot of life.

We come up with excuses as to why we can’t grow. We blame our jobs, our network, and our lack of resources…and perhaps that’s valid to a degree, but we don’t look at the largest inhibitor to our growth…ourselves.

How many times have you reinforced the idea in your head that You “can’t” do something? How often do you allow voices of inferiority to dictate your lack of action or ambition? Here’s the truth. You own the remote control to your inner voice meaning you can mute the negative thoughts and turn the volume up on confidence.

Take some time today to look at your growth. Make sure those that say they want you to grow are helping you plant your vision in fertile soil, not artificial pots. Make sure you’re dictating the pattern of your growth to create the masterpiece you see, not simply exist as entertainment for others.


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