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  • emma3423

Grow Well

I planted some sweetpea seeds in February. I placed them carefully in their propagators, covered them, watered them and popped them on the window-sill. Over the next few weeks I watched as one of the trays simply took off (evidence above), while the other...just sat there, with only a single seedling venturing through the soil.

One of the benefits(?) of my office also being my kitchen is that I got to observe this disparity in real-time; and it got me thinking...about the conditions that create growth.

There are some obvious examples that come to mind immediately:

  • A change of school for my 10-year-old, who has dyslexia (a super-power in our minds) and has suffered from anxiety, post-Covid. Despite the pressure and rigidity of the UK SATs system; a combination of a supportive, SEND-infused environment at her new school and the two of us having fun with Canva at home, means that she's developing both her creative and more traditional learning abilities.

  • I'm two-thirds of the way through my ICF-Accredited Coaching Certificate. Two four-hour sessions on Zoom a week you say? Sounds hellish. And yet, the virtual environment established by my tutors and fellow learners, means those sessions are warm, supportive, curious and safe. We make space for each other to fail and learn throughout our time online. In fact we regularly spend hours subsequently, chatting on WhatsApp or reviewing our sessions on follow-up calls.

Nancy Kline talks about the Ten Components of a Thinking Environment and I can tick off a load of these in the above examples: equality, ease, appreciation, encouragement, information, difference, place and incisive questions (particularly in my coaching course, obvs).

But here's one much less obvious one, that I think we don't draw enough attention to the power of: Feelings.

As Queen Nancy* says:

Unexpressed feelings can inhibit good thinking...We think that when feelings start, thinking stops. When we assume this, we interfere with exactly the process that helps a person to think clearly again. If instead, when people show signs of feelings, we relax and welcome them, good thinking will resume.

There's a place where I know I have grown more than ever and it's down there in the soil, where it's dark and there are some really difficult feelings. When I've grieved, felt hurt, got frustrated and sad. By necessity, I've often accessed counselling or coaching and I've surrounded myself with good people, who are ready to listen, give hugs and support when I've needed it.

What's my point?

If you're feeling stuck, or lost, think about what components for thinking or growth you're placing yourself in and ask yourself, what feelings am I ignoring? What do I need to process or let go of, to enable myself to move on from this?

Deep in the soil where all plants and trees grow, there exist all kinds of things that we never recognise the power of. They're dark and scary and messy, but there's no growth without them.

*I really love Nancy Kline

🧜‍♀️ I’m Emma, a strategic Communications consultant and Coach

👩‍💻 I post about PR, Coaching, governance and issues that I care about, such as equality and fairness across society, inclusivity and connecting as Messy Humans

💃 You can subscribe to my newsletter, Dancing in the Moment and visit my website ( to find out more

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