“Thank you for the opportunity. This has served as a greenhouse that has allowed me to grow”. Can you imagine that sentiment being part of what you convey in your farewell speech? I can because I witnessed it. Once upon a time, during a goodbye party for a coworker who was moving on to bigger and greener pastures, they in essence communicated that for them to stay would prohibit their personal growth, which would be unfair to the company. I thought this was first of all bold, but very much intriguing and went and had a chat with them afterwards.

They explained that in their perspective, if they had outgrown their work environment, it was unfair to ask the company to make changes to accommodate. They were one person, and the growth they were experiencing was not an indication of the condition of the company. This conclusion wasn’t a flippant decision. They had actually and realistically considered all aspects to the point of communicating freely with their boss. Together, they had reached a win-win conclusion. Wow.

While this is a unique scenario—one I had not heard of before or since—the idea of the environment being an impacting factor does seem relevant. And not just in the workplace. Take wine for example. (I heard some cheers.) I find it completely fascinating that a particular grape varietal placed in one setting can produce an entirely different product than the same grape varietal in another setting. Amazing.

What’s more (not smore’s) is the variety of temperaments when it comes to grapes. From what I’ve learned/heard, some don’t seem to pay any attention to the elements they are exposed to. They insist on thriving and will grow anywhere. Some need very specific conditions in order to produce any fruit at all. Others will tolerate extreme temperatures, almost seemingly to a fault. Interesting? I think so.

Artistically, it takes time to know what impacts your work and what type of work you are looking to/ going to create. The benefit of learning this is it helps you customize the setting that is going to be the most beneficial for what you are putting your hand to. It may change depending on what you are working on, which is completely okay. This is the beauty of learning what works best for you. It can be organic, developing and changing as you go.

What makes up the creative environment that you work in may vary, even situationally. I know for me, if I am focusing, it is going to be earbuds in, supplies sprawled out on the counter, with no timeframe. Other times I will be at the house of an artist friend who is game to try out new tools and techniques while talking through any number of topics. There have been times when I have wanted to be outdoors for the inspiration to come up with something new or a refresh. For me, it gets as specific as the playlist or the scenery or the influence of another artist.

One of my most favorite environments has been in a makeshift studio painting alongside my son. He and I have extremely different styles and techniques—and if you were to compare, there would be no question who was the talented one. Of course I say this without any bias. As you can imagine, it is quite special.

The conditions that encourage your work should not be overlooked. Identifying these may be important mile markers that help to shape the very work you produce. It may be encouraging to know that your environment can be changed, crafted, molded into what works for you. These are all factors like in a recipe, and you want the ones that fit the product. These can be adjusted and tempered with experience and time.

Feel free to try out new spaces and places as you work. Keep at it and ultimately, you will find your greenhouse.