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How a Frog Turned a Princess into a High Performance Decision Maker

Ever mull over a decision until it was too late to get it right? Or spend a lot of energy agonizing on what to do in a dilemma? Are you such a slow decision maker that life is passing you by as you ponder about a career break, finding work you love or seeking a new job?

Perhaps what you need is a frog.

Ramar: The Rabbit with Rainbow Wings – an unforgettable story of a rabbit with rainbow wings as he prepares himself for his first life on Earth as a human being – made the rounds through our family 10 years ago. Ramar searches for the meaning of his gossamer wings and is guided by the spirits of creatures who tell of their own earthly travels.

In this World-In-Between, there are many creatures to teach Ramar lessons about their lives on earth, such as the Dove who is a creature of faith and a turtle who never learned how to make lasting friendships.

Then there’s the frog…A tiny green frog that turned to gray stone on a lily pad because he simply could not make the decision about which lily pad to jump to.

Like Jonathon Livingston Seagull, this is a book that prompts conversations. Such as:

What creature do you think you are in the book? Then of course you end up designating a creature to other family members whether they like it or not. Here’s the conversation that happened in our family.

Mom:  Your Aunt Carol and I have decided you are the frog.

Daughter: Great. (said with dismay) How’d you get that?

Mom:  Because you sit and sit and sit on decisions….just like the frog. (and then had very specific information to paint the picture.)

Daughter:  (long silence) I think you’re right. But I don’t like being the Frog.

Mom:  Well, maybe you should do something about it.

Notice that the mom didn’t tell the daughter how to become a better decision maker. Everyone needs to make their own way; it’s a very personal process.

Here’s what happened next.

The daughter starts receiving a lot of frogs from well-meaning people to remind her of her penchant toward frogness – stuffed ones, glass ones, cards with frogs on them. And among them, this spiral green one that you see in the picture.

End of story? Not even close.

Elizabeth found her own way through the maze of making hard, little, and very big decisions about her life and her career. She moved, went on a 6 month sabbatical, flipped two houses, moved again, started a business with gusto, traveled and threw a grand bash for her 39th birthday.

I asked Elizabeth to take a picture of that special green frog that is no longer relevant in her life. Elizabeth transformed her stuck behavior into a high performance decision making. She’s not the same person she was when she got this frog.  Oh….and by the way, she’s getting married next Saturday. (How’s that for post-frog behavior?)

If your decision making about living the life you want could use a kick start, come hear how others got unstuck.  Meet, Plan, Go, a national conversation about career breaks, sabbaticals and extended travel, happens in 13 cities on Sept. 14th. has partnered with REI to present a panel of experts, raise awareness about resources, and create opportunities to meet people who are “stepping out.”  Their stories will inspire and you’ll come away with information you won’t get any place else.

See you there!


About Barbara Pagano

Founding Partner,

Barbara has spent more than 20 years helping leaders excel and facilitating for Fortune 500 firms. She has shared her leadership insights with audiences totaling more than 300,000 executives from companies like Coca-Cola, NCR, Target, and Turner Broadcasting, and she has personally coached almost 3,000 executives from companies including American Express, AT&T, and BellSouth. Barbara’s research on credibility, the diagnostic tools she has developed with a leading company in the assessment industry, and her focus on skills and measurable improvement offer leaders proven methods for building trusting, high-performing relationships. She inspires, teaches and holds leaders accountable for results. She is co-author of THE TRANSPARENCY EDGE: How Credibility Can Make or Break You in Business (McGraw-Hill), chosen by Fast Company magazine as a “Book of the Month.” The book is available on Amazon:

Read more

Barbara and her daughter, Elizabeth, became fierce advocates for the sabbatical movement after experiencing their own six-month sabbatical, during which they sailed alone for 2,000 miles on a 43-foot sailboat named “Revival.” To read the story of their sailing sabbatical, go to

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