Better Results? Try Spreading Some “Rain”

Sounds, odd, I know. But living in Southern California, despite the climate crises that has brought torrents of rain and snow from Santa Barbara north, we still live in a parched area south of Los Angeles. Even the Salton Sea is drying up.

Yet there are lessons to be learned from the world around me that have a parallel for how to move into 2020.

For example, right now, the hills around me are crackling brown and dust dry. But all it will take is a smattering of rain to burst forth a painter’s array of bush sunflowers, California poppies, and delicate yellow penstemon. In fact, Death Valley—the driest, most barren place in North America—can became festooned with bright yellow, pink, white, and deep purple blossoms.

Have you ever encountered someone whose persona resembled Death Valley: dry, impenetrable, rigid, without the moisture of a smile or the glimmer of optimism?

Perhaps someone like Mary Ellen? If you watched Mary Ellen walk into a room, you almost saw the dust fly off her mouth if it cracked in an unaccustomed smile. Her shoulders hunched forward and, to most ears, the tone of her voice alternated between hostile and imperious. Few people wanted to be around her. Too bad.

She had a crackerjack mind that remembered facts and figures better than a database. Her command of language startled even the most educated, and her creative eye rendered solutions for the architectural firm. It’s just that no one wanted her dealing with clients. Too abrasive. Larry decided to “spread some rain.” He began by asking her questions about how she developed an interest in architecture and design. He discovered it was her way of trying to connect with a father who built houses and who also ignored her.

Like the Death Valley seeds, he realized she had erected a protective shield as a result of past hurts, insecurity, perceived indifference, or disdain of others. He shared a little about his family. She opened up again. Then he risked even more. He pointed out the positive strengths she brought to the firm. Kindly but firmly, he talked about her blind spot. He told her that he KNEW she had no idea how she was coming across and that he believed she was better than that.

Larry spread some rain. She blossomed. Oh, not all at once—but slowly the firm saw some shifts. She started to even wear brighter colors. You might say she began flowering. All because someone saw in her some internal loveliness that she didn’t see for herself.

Maybe a great place to get better results in 2020 is to spread rain to people who need it the most.

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