Don’t be a tall poppy – be a TREE!

You’ve heard about tall poppy syndrome, right?

The tendency some people who aren’t brave enough to stand out from the crowd have, to snip snip snip down those who do?

The snippers.

Snip, snip!  I'll cut you down to MY size!

Snip, snip! I’ll cut you down to MY size!

Snippers like to cut you down to size, because they find it easier to do this than to actually stand up tall themselves.

You’ll recognise them.

They’re the ones who snigger whilst you sing a song in front of a group of friends.

The ones who always, always feel the need to offer your business ‘helpful criticism’ but never say anything positive.

The ones who make snarky comments on your Facebook posts.

The ones who use silence as a way to cut you down, or gossip behind your back.

The snippers are, sadly, part of the business of living out loud.  People will get the scissors out if you stand tall.

My advice?

Don’t be a poppy.

Just look at that flimsy stem

Just look at that flimsy stem

Bear with me here!  You know I’m not ever going to tell you not to stand out above the crowd.

Poppies, although super pretty (one of my favourite flowers, in fact) grow very quickly on disturbed ground (that’s why they pop up on old battlefields).  They have really, really thin stems and delicate petals – just like your creative efforts do at first.

These sudden spurts of creative growth can be gorgeous, especially when they come from the ‘disturbed ground’ of a big life shake-up or change, like illness, tragedy or divorce.

Be a tree!

Be a tree!

They have their place, these little spurts.

They shake us out of our usual patterns and give us a boost, they’re often a place where we first learn what our unique gifts actually are.  They’re good to have, in safe places (like the venue I helped found, The Art House – where lots of people start out!).

So, I guess I mean – be a poppy somewhere relatively safe – and don’t be sad when the season for your poppy’s loveliness passes, as it will.

But if you want to sustain creative growth and live creatively ALL the time (not just after your baby done gone left you or your grandma is really sick) you will need to be …..


Grow slowly, take rests, put down deep roots, have a wide, wide trunk and tower way above all the other plants in the forest!

(and be completely immune to scissors!)


Don’t be a tall poppy – be a TREE! — 2 Comments