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Promising Change

En route to a client for a couple of days of leadership and team development, the weather was simultaneously fierce and changeable as forecast. Amid dark thunderclouds and pelting rain were startling outbreaks of sun and pinky-gray wisps of cloud in a serenely azure sky. Suddenly to our left was probably the widest rainbow I’ve ever seen, not particularly curved, but sturdy. You can imagine just why early humans would have thought it was a sign, a magic path to something wonderful.

In the biblical story of Noah, God places a rainbow in the sky as a promise never to flood the earth again.

Promise has two meanings — one has to do with commitment and the other with potential. So there I was, in the midst of planning leadership development, thinking about how you have to engage the first (commitment) to get the most out of the second (potential).

All the latest science says that talent and genius are usually the result of hours and hours of preparation, practice, study, self improvement — over and over and over. Some tout “10,000 hours” as a rule for successful mastery. Whether the necessary total is 10,000 or 1,000, it’s the commitment that gets you started on achieving your potential.

Take weight training. You can get stronger at any age, even if you don’t start till you’re in your 70s or even later. Same goes for yoga and stretching; you can get more flexible. Think of it — we have so much potential, that at any age, no matter how late you start, if you commit to doing the work, and actually do it, you can increase strength and flexibility.

What is true for the body is also true for the mind; you can get stronger and more flexible, if you’re willing to do the practice. New strength, new learning, new habits.

What do you want to do better, stronger, more flexibly? If you were to set yourself one work goal, one relationship goal, one health goal — to make you stronger and more flexible as a human being, better able to cope with the storms of life and take pleasure in the rainbows — what would your goals be?

What would you try, what promises would you make, if there was nowhere to go but up?

Onward and upward,


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