Recently, we were at the beach with friends. The hotel had a number of whimsical statues around the pool area, including dolphins, alligators and herons. However, I could not resist kissing this jaunty iron frog sitting on a fence…much to my friends’ amusement. In reflecting on my life, I realize I have kissed a lot of frogs. And I’m not talking about blind dates (although I’ve had my share of those; most were positive experiences, including meeting my then-future husband). To me, there are a lot of upsides to being open to kissing frogs. Often, kissing the proverbial frog is rewarding, surprising and fun. A sense of adventure is helpful.
In a work setting, being open to getting to know those who are (seemingly) different than we are gives us the opportunity to learn about another person; how they think, act, and see the world. It builds our ability to discern positive traits in others, to uncover the best in them while being aware and accepting of those aspects that are not so wonderful. We learn to see others with an open heart, and give our intuition a say in the relationships we build. We lower our biases that might get in the way of really engaging with another person. As humans, we are wired to make quick assessments of others. When we can allow more metaphorical frogs into our life, we can begin to change old habits of thought.
Kissing a frog can also be thought of as allowing anything that is unusual or different into our lives. It might be an idea that, up until now, we always rejected. It might be embracing a new way of living (for example, many facing retirement may resonate with that aspect). Perhaps it is accepting your quirky cousin or challenging co-worker for who they are, without trying to change them. It might mean acting on the belief that building a team requires a diverse mix of thinking, strengths and people.
Talking about what he calls “the hero journey” Joseph Campbell wrote: “Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There’s always the possibility of a fiasco. But there’s also the possibility of bliss.” Daring to kiss a frog is part of our lifelong journey of learning.
So, when was the last time you kissed a frog? I’d love to hear your stories, experiences and thoughts about this topic. And, if I can support you in embracing new thinking, please ask.
Sharon Keys Seal