The cherry blossom season for 2017 has officially started in Tokyo. Media channels are becoming saturated with pink blossoms and the Shinkais are preparing for our annual hanami at Sumidakoen in our beloved shitamachi. The coming of spring is always a wonderful time of new beginnings and fresh energy.
All this talk of sakura reminded me of something I realised when I was training for Tokyo marathon in the cold, dark February mornings earlier this year.
I wake up at 5:30 and run along a river near my home whilst the family sleeps. The pathway is smooth and flat and lined with cherry blossom trees. These are no ordinary sakura trees though. These are カワジザクラ (kawajizakura), an early blooming type of cherry blossom.
I saw some other people post pictures of these trees in February on social media. Some helpful people tried to correct the poster:
“They can’t be cherry blossom. It’s too early.”
“They must be ume – plum blossom. Cherry blossom does not bloom until April!”
As well meaning as these comments were they were based on a biased perspective, a lack of full information.
When we are so sure that our worldview is correct i.e. Cherry blossom = April, we fail to take into account that there could be outliers that challenge that rule.
Are you an early blooming sakura?
Are people around you saying things like this?
“Oh, you can’t become a manager yet. You are too young.”
“You don’t have enough experience in this field to get a promotion.”
How about your own perspective?
“I’m not ready for the next step yet. It’s too big a leap for me.”
“There aren’t any people like me at the next level. Maybe I don’t deserve a seat at the table. Maybe I’m not welcome. Maybe I shouldn’t bother?”
Research shows that women wait until they are 100% qualified before they apply for a job. At that point, isn’t it too late? What is your potential to learn and grow in the role? You need to feel the challenge of conscious incompetence to keep developing as a human being.
I challenge you to question those beliefs – you don’t always have to wait for the correct “season”. It could be that you are made of different stuff.
Perhaps you were meant to bloom in February not April. To stand alone as an early signal of new beginnings, not wait for the masses to catch you up.
When you delay reaching your potential, you do a disservice to yourself and the world. No one said that being ahead of your time was easy but holding yourself back is a struggle instil.