My Grandmother told me that we are either Dandelions or Orchids. I didn’t really understand what she meant by that, but she explained that some of us are like Dandelions and some of us are like Orchids, just like the flowers.
I created my own interpretation of what my Grandmother was talking about:
Dandelions — this type of person is less sensitive and is strong minded and can grow anywhere, in the harshest of environments and can essentially “bounce back” easily. My Grandmother said, “Dandelions can get stomped all over and they just sprout right back up”. In other words, they are just hearty and less complicated with emotions.
Orchids — this type of person is highly sensitive and can be difficult to tend to or understand but can thrive given the right circumstances. Generally speaking, these types of people are more “fickle” and require delicate and focused care. In other words, they are likely more emotional, empathetic and just very sensitive.
After this discussion, my first thought was I am an Orchid for sure. I consider myself highly sensitive, quite fickle, and some may even say complicated. However, I thought further and started to reflect on how I deal with problems or adversity and explored my emotions and sensitivities.
Through this reflection and exploration, I found that I feel I am both an Orchid and a Dandelion.
Let me explain. If I was to describe how I feel today, I would say that there is an orchid at my core — a highly sensitive part of me that requires a lot of focused care, delicacy and intentionality. A side that is extremely empathetic, sensitive and complicated.
That said, through hardships and adversity I feel that I have Dandelions that protect me, whether they are organic Dandelions or psychologically built, I feel they are there to protect my Orchid.
Children Types for Parents
Now, I did some research on this topic and it turns out that many psychologists, researchers, and clinicians do or have done studies as it relates to children’s health, mental health and more.
I found a great article for parents called “Raising an Orchid Child in a Dandelion World”, by Motherly. This is another great perspective of this concept related to children and some of the fears and challenges with an Orchid child as compared to a Dandelion child.
I agree with the title, the world we live in is built for a Dandelion and this article speaks well to that for new or existing parents. That said, I believe this concept goes beyond just children and is very applicable to adults as well and can help adults realize how to care for themselves better or even help them understand how they receive the world and its insensitive nature.
After further research, I came across another article by Today, called “Is your child a Tulip?”, this article introduces a 3rd type of child, a Tulip, I am going to refer to this as a different type of personality.
Tulips — someone who falls between high and low sensitivity. They are delicate like orchids and hearty like dandelions.
Perhaps I am a Tulip? I do not really feel like I am very “hearty” and can just thrive in any circumstance, but my track record says otherwise, my life, the hardships and the adversities that I have overcome tell me that I have the capacity to thrive in harsh or difficult circumstances.
Although I do not feel this is my natural disposition and overcoming certain obstacles have challenged me greatly, I did it, and I believe I may have learned to build Dandelions in the process to help protect my Orchid.
Perhaps I am a self-made Tulip — that learned and is still learning how to create the external and internal boundaries for my Orchid so that the hearty Dandelions can help me take on the world, business, and life.
I believe we may have the capacity to be both an Orchid and a Dandelion, but one type is more natural than the other and it may require that we build new skills or aptitudes that do not come naturally to us.
Regardless, I think that these type of personality assessments help us understand how we can better care for ourselves, our families, our children and the people we love or care for in our lives.
Orchids & Dandelions in the Workplace
In my opinion, this concept is very applicable to business and understanding how we can help others thrive in a workplace. I believe understanding these personality types, although a more unconventional way of thinking about how people feel and why they behave the way they do, can be beneficial in employee engagement, inclusion, and productivity.
Why? Well, I think if we understand one personality type, then we can tailor the environment so that it can accommodate for such feelings, responses, and growth.
As it relates to Orchids, these people are generally more creative and introverted, offering a work environment that respects their sensitivities can produce a high-level of performance results alongside Dandelions that are able to thrive in most environments.
For Dandelions, these people are hearty and can help support Orchids, as well as learn from Orchids and their sensitive and empathetic nature. Having the ability to empathize with others is a strong skill set that may come more naturally to Orchids, which is a critical strength for effective leaders.
In addition, we create a safe space for growth. As I mentioned, I believe we have the capacity to be both an Orchid and a Dandelion, as it relates to the workplace both are extremely valuable.
I feel that understanding Orchids and Dandelions as employee types can help with career placement, growth, and work-life balance.
Encouraging a focus on the natural strengths and sensitivities that people have and creating environments that empower them and help them thrive. When we do this, we all win, and we all succeed with more health, wealth and happiness.
As opposed to trying to change people or mold them into something that doesn’t fit them, or their strengths, and suppresses their best qualities. When we do this, we are “trying to fit square pegs in round holes”, which historically does not work.