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A Powerful Story that Could Change a Leader’s and Other’s Life…

{ 21 comments… add one }

Here is one of those types of stories that we have discussed on this blog before (see "Why  Should Leaders Tell Stories" by clicking here) that can build immediate trust with those you lead. And it may change your life as well. 

Once there was a group of frogs merrily hopping through the forest. They didn't have a Frog3 care in the world until two of the frogs fell into a deep pit. All of the other frogs quickly gathered around the large pit and peered down into its deep vastness. They all begin to scratch their heads trying to come up with a way to help. After a long period of time they couldn't think of a solution, they all agreed it was hopeless and yelled down to the two frogs to prepare for their fate and that they would never get out. 

Unwilling to believe the other frogs, the two frogs jumped even higher. The group of frogs above the hole begin to shout even louder to quit, to give up, that they would never get out of there alive and it wasn't worth it. 

After a period of time, one of the frogs gave heed to what was being said and gave up and died. The other frog though jumped even higher. The shouts of discouragement continued and got louder. And though he was absolutely drained of every bit of energy he had, this determined frog continued to jump even higher – in miraculous ways. Eventually he jumped so high he sprang right out of the pit.

The other frogs celebrated this frogs victory and then gathered around him in puzzlement. They said, "didn't you hear us tell you to stay down, you wouldn't get out?" In response to that the frog said "oh, is that what you were saying? I am hard of hearing, and I thought you were telling me to jump higher. I didn't think you were discouraging me, I thought you were encouraging me."  

Two points I like to make when I tell this story are: 1) You will have many people tell you all your life, including yourself, that it is too hard, quit, don't try etc. Choose not to listen to it. 2) Being positive works. As a leader you can shape behavior so much better by being positive than being negative. Inspire people, don't knock them down.

What else could we teach others with this story? I look forward to your comments. 

Here is a phenomenal video on the power of being positive from a past blog post. Click Here.


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Mike Rogers

Leave a Comment

  • walter daniels July 22, 2010, 2:30 pm

    I am going to pass this on to some teenagers I know, and others. It makes an excellent point. We are beaten only when we give up.

  • ps dhingra July 23, 2010, 7:04 am

    Sorry to point out Mike, I was totally discouraged to read the story, as there is nothing powerful in the story that can change any body’ life. By adding a word “Powerful” can’t make a tiny tot’s story powerful to be followed by leaders in the corporate world. Fabricated stories of frogs and hares meant for children are not the the right examples that can change the leader’s lives in a corporate world.May be they are good for the children or illiterate or semi-literate persons to learn something, but not for the management and more particularly for the leaders of any organization in the corporate world unless they are real life stories. The question arises, who understands the language of frogs to interpret that the frogs falling in the pit were being discouraged or encouraged by other frogs, or they were merely making their usual harsh sounds to celebrate the rainy day being totally inattentive of the plight of the frogs who jumped in to the pit and one returned out of the pit.
    Children stories are no more valid in much advanced and matured management world and leadership.

  • Mike Rogers July 23, 2010, 7:04 am

    PS I couldn’t disagree with you more. I guess it depends on the personality of the person reading the story. I believe stories like this can motivate people. They are fun. They are also inspirational. This particular story has had a powerful impact on my life. I am sure I am not any less literate than you. These types of stories have been used for years to move people.
    It sounds to me like you are too literal. Of course I can’t interpret “the language of frogs.” The story didn’t really happen, it’s fictional! But most of us can relate to fictional stories that drive home a point. The problem with the “matured management world” as you call it is it is too serious. You choose to live in this “mature management world,” and I choose to live in one that is different that yours. Yours sounds a bit boring to me.
    Mike Rogers

  • helen July 23, 2010, 8:41 am

    I love animation and often watch movies because I like that suspenstion of disbelief! I also like real-world examples of taking risks and leading. There’s nothing like learning from someone who has ‘been there, done that!’
    The Wisdom of Caring Leaders is a great leadership training with real world successful business leaders like Richard Branson, Jack Welch, etc.

  • Nicholas Ddumba Katumba July 23, 2010, 9:06 am

    On several occasions I chosen not to listen to some vibe from some people. I choose to follow my instinct and it works for me. This is a very nice story that everyone should tell.

  • Mary Ward July 23, 2010, 9:49 am

    I have to also disagree with the negative reviewer. I’m 55 and a cynic, yet a simple story that people can easily relate, conveys more power than an corporate BS annual report with all its facts and figures and pontifications.

  • ps dhingra July 24, 2010, 11:24 am

    I got your interest! That is fine with me if fictitious and fabricated children stories are still the ideals for you and you don’t want to go beyond that in the real world of successful leadership stories that are available and circulating plentifully on the web. But, I wonder, what is so powerful in this fabricated story that can change a leader’s life, who would have already set several examples of his achievement?

  • Mike Rogers July 24, 2010, 11:24 am

    ps, I am not saying I don’t agree with the need for real stories of leadership. And I use plenty of those from both my life and others. However, fictional stories can have impact as well. This story is about leaders being positive and encouraging others. I am going to continue posting both stories and videos that are both fictional and non-fiction. Since I have received positive feedback on both in my training. Business should be fun as well. Sometimes we are all way too serious about things.

  • Shirley Lyons July 27, 2010, 1:16 pm

    Great little story. It will work perfectly when I work with my team on stepping out of the box and supporting each other when doing so.

  • Shantra Winger July 28, 2010, 11:44 am

    I really enjoyed this story, thank you for posting it.

  • Elaine Harrison January 12, 2011, 2:14 pm

    Your Powerful Story that could change a Leader’s Life and Other’s life was great; it reminded me of the quote by Winston Churchill “Never give up, Never give up, Never give up”. I would also add “Never give in to the negativity of others as long as you have confidence in your own talents”. No one ever knows how high you can jump until you try.
    Elaine Harrison

  • Mike Rogers January 12, 2011, 3:12 pm

    Thanks Elaine. I am glad you enjoyed the story! It is an inspiring story. I use it often in my training.

  • Craig March 13, 2011, 4:13 pm

    Some great examples and analogies here Mike.
    @ ps dhingra – I’d recommend you think a bit harder about the stories and the true meaning and utility may become clear to you. “Fictitious and fabricated children stories” have been used for thousands of years – think of Aesop for example – and whilst your real life stories definitely have their place maybe some people’s learning styles benefit from something more abstract than an autobiography from a CEO.

  • Jed A. Reay August 7, 2012, 7:19 am

    I couldn’t agree more. it is not about the texture and shape of the message, it is the meaning that is taken home. We all look at the world from our own view, and experience. I am addressing a similar encouragement issue with one of my clients. Thank you Mike for a great analogy of what it takes to influence and move others to their greatness!

  • Mike Rogers August 9, 2012, 9:10 pm

    Your welcome Jed. Good luck!


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