Horizontal growth, vertical growth

Two different strategies for professional development


With the good weather, I have breakfast at my balcony every morning.

This lazy gardener enjoys watching the plants he brought home in spring, now struggling to make it through the New York summer.

Geranium grows in a round pot, trying to reach the sun. Great Falls Yosemite is in a long planter that she shares with roommate Purple Butterfly.

Illustration of a plant growing through of a house's chimney

Illustration by Silvia Fernández Palomar

A couple of weeks ago, they both decided they wanted to be grown-ups.

Geranium is screaming for vertical growth. Predictably, she wants the hands of a stranger bringing her to a larger pot, where she can deepen her roots and grow taller stems that will result in beautiful flowers.

Great Falls Yosemite prefers horizontal growth. She is pretty comfortable with her distance to the sun, but wants to reach as wide as the planter — and Purple Butterfly — allows.

By this time they may have already noticed that lazy gardener is not going to help much, and they started their own alternative strategies.

Geranium realized that it was impossible to keep taking care of all her stems while trying to reach the sun, so she is letting some of them die. Although she seemed sad at the beginning, she now looks happier and stronger, just letting go of those unnecessary appendixes. It’s almost as if she knew that lazy gardener would come and trim them off soon.

Great Falls Yosemite grows her stems close to the ground, cautiously exploring unknown territories that she is confident she can conquer. She is now reaching the limits of the planter, and roomie Purple Butterfly doesn’t look like she will be moving anytime soon. Lazy gardener has no plans to get a larger planter, and Great Falls’ approach is to redefine her own boundaries.