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Look Around You, Where Are You Planted?


View of Rome from Castel Sant’Angelo, Italy


Some of the most important events in my life were not supported by the people that I thought would have my back. One such event was when I planned to move from the United States to Italy. The people that I thought would support me were the biggest Dream Killers in my life at that time.  They reminded me of a beautiful vine  that grows next to the big, strong tree in the jungle. The leaves of the vineencircling the tree are green, lush, and beautiful making the tree appear alluring and attractive. The innocuous vine appears to enhance the beauty of the tree, but appearances can be deceptive. The vine’s roots unseen to the naked eye beneath the soil have tapped into the roots of the big, strong tree and slowly drain it of vital nutrients. When it rain, its big beautiful leaves soak in all the precious rain water rather than allow the tree to be nourished by the rainwater.  The beautiful vine grows stronger and thicker as it encircles the tree to reach the top to penetrate the forest canopy and rob the tree of essential sunlight. What is happening is the vine is stealing precious nutrients, rain, and sunlight from the big, strong tree is also encircling it slowly and strangling it to death. That is why is aptly called the Strangler Fig.

I had to examine the people that were around me. They appeared to have my best interest and maybe they thought they did, but they were projecting their fears unto me and those fears were encircling and strangling my dreams.Their negative energy was robbing me of being firmly rooted in the faith that my decision to move abroad was in my best interest. The smooth talk was like those lush vines leaves that appear to enhance the beauty of the tree but, are deceptive in nature because they only serve their own interests.

Big dreams happen with BOLD moves! I knew I had to be bold and stay strong. I began to weed out the naysayers from my life by spending less time with them. I choose to spend more time with people that had a similar mindset to my own. I had to reach out overseas to my expatriate friends that were cheering me on through phone calls, emails, and cards. They were like the tall and mighty trees you would find in mountains of northern California.  The roots of the mighty trees cannot grow deep because of the rocky soil of the mountains. How do they withstand windstorms one may ask? The mighty trees always grow in GROVES! In this way as they grow their roots intertwine and cover very large areas allowing all the trees to withstand a windstorm. The mighty trees I am referring to are the beautiful, majestic Sequoias. My expatriate friends were like my Sequoias, helping me to withstand storms of negativity and discouragement and helping to keep me rooted in faith that my dreams would come true.

Look at your circle and see who in it is draining you like the Strangler Fig or empowering you like the mighty Sequoias. Where you are planted is where you will bloom.


Adrian Jefferson Chofor is a professional with over 25 years in the publishing, academia, and healthcare industries. She is also a former expatriate having lived in Italy, Spain, and Germany where she conducted workshops and seminars for executives and professionals. Adrian is an entrepreneur and a certified life coach with a passion for helping others through public speaking, training and coaching.

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