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I remember as a child collecting frog spawn in a jar and bringing it home, or into school, and keeping it to see the tadpoles develop and eventually the frogs emerge. Truth be told, very few made it to frog – stagnant water, jam jars left out in the sun, thieving dogs and cats – all conspired to reduce the hundreds of spawn to nothing.


In those days we had no awareness of the delicate balance of nature and taking frog spawn was even encouraged as part of “nature study.” Thankfully, we are now more mindful of the importance of leaving nature undisturbed as much as possible.

Frogs are magical creatures…. every child knows the story of the Frog Prince and Kermit was one of the key characters in Sesame Street and, of course, the Muppets.

The frog’s development from a water baby into an amphibian is intriguing, presenting us with an animal equally at home on land or in water. The fairytale theme of the frog’s exterior masking a princely inner nature is captivating.

Bandler and Grinder used this to good effect in their seminal NLP treatise, “Frogs into Princes” (1979) and “spawned” a whole new industry in personal development and self improvement. Whatever the actual merits of Neuro Linguistic Programming, NLP became mainstream by the 1990’s and has hung in there ever since.

In 1992 I came across Tony Robbins’ “Unlimited Power” (1986) – I picked it up for a transit read while on my way to an accounting conference in the UK. I became so absorbed in the book that the conference faded into insignificance. I was fascinated at the idea of mirroring someone’s posture and movements as part of building rapport and could hardly wait to try it out. So next morning at breakfast I mirrored the person I was talking to at the table. The results were astounding – too good. Not only did we develop strong rapport, but I couldn’t shake him for the remainder of the event.

In business, we are conditioned to be dissatisfied and discontented. Resting on your laurels is frowned upon. Eternal and everlasting pursuit of “growth” is encouraged. Today’s accomplishments are celebrated and quickly used to justify the demand for even greater results tomorrow.

We are driven toward perpetual learning, development, and up-skilling. It’s not enough to show you can do the job, you’ve got to demonstrate your accomplishments above and beyond the demands of the role – show what extra value you can bring. It seems we don’t ponder the morality of paying for less than we receive or demanding more than we’re willing to pay for – and yet this is the space many companies operate in. And the void many employees try (vainly) to fill.

Yes, it’s true that we all have untapped potential and are generally limited more by ourselves than any external factor. But not every frog is a bewitched prince. Mostly frogs are frogs.

How do I distinguish between becoming the best version of me that I’m capable of and selling my soul for a worthless token?

Have you ever found yourself in this position? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts. Thanks.