I don’t recall the actual achievement – just that it was some form of recognition I had received at work. It might have been an accolade from a customer. Or maybe it was a promotion. Yes, a long overdue promotion, that sounds good. Let’s go with that.
What I do recall and quite clearly are my father’s words when I told him the news. He delivered them with a knew-it-all-the-time grin on his face: “Cream rises, Virginia.”
While I appreciated the acknowledgement, I discounted it as the biased pride of a father. And yet part of me wondered: What if there really was some greatness inside me that was finally showing itself?
How Does That Happen?
The timeline for “cream rising” is different for each of us. My career started in a technical position that required calculators and green sheets - not exactly my forte - though I eventually conquered them enough to use as tools of the trade. And gradually the things I’m good at started to become clear, often to others before myself.
Whatever that “greatness” is – maybe you think of it as a special talent or skill – we all want to discover it in ourselves, be able to use it, and have it be valued by other people.
But what about when you are not recognized or when less qualified people get that promotion? As a coach, I often hear this cited as a major cause of frustration and disengagement.
The danger with this cream-rising theory is that it can be misconstrued and you might find yourself in the passive position of waiting to be noticed. In order to rise, equal measures of persistence, patience, and boldness are required. Precisely at those points of frustration, you must go within and ask: What within me is on the rise? What wants to show itself in a bigger way?
Is it really true that cream rises? Why not decide that the answer can be yes? That it can and will be true for you. That you can’t keep the best parts of yourself hidden. That they are showing and the best within you is rising. If you believe it, you’ll be on the lookout for it. You’ll see it in yourself and so will others.
Throughout life there will continue to be those “cream rises” moments and the more humbling episodes when you feel like the grinds at the bottom of the cup. Yet you must keep asking the questions because you are never done rising…ever.
This Week’s Call To Action:
- What is rising up within you? What is making its way to the surface? A desire, passion, talent, a certain curiosity or persistent question? Let it rise!
- When you see the best of your child, coworker or friend revealed, tell them with a grin: “Cream rises.” Even if they roll their eyes, part of it might just sink in.
See you in the current,
Idiom definition: Cream rises to the top
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