When borders around creativity are removed and limitations around possibility erased then genius roams free and humans perform at unimagined levels of excellence.
I know this to be true because I witnessed this first hand on Wednesday afternoon.
Last week I wrote about a remarkable experience I had while watching a team of people rehearse a presentation to their management.
These folks had spent the past year participating in a Leadership Development Program that I was fortunate enough to facilitate and, as a part of the program, they had invested much time deciding on an initiative that would benefit their employer and then designing, researching and developing a business plan for presentation to the senior management and guests.
On Wednesday I was present when they finally delivered their presentation and they were magnificent.
And so were the other five groups of their co-workers who had participated in the same program and had developed their own projects for presentation.
A year earlier these folks had nervously commenced a training program for which they had volunteered.
They had each written a submission of up to 1,000 words explaining why they should be selected for the program and at the first session they were randomly divided into six groups and told about the expectation for them to create a project which would culminate in a presentation to their bosses.
For some of them the prospect of presenting anything in public to anyone was enough to cause severe heart palpitations.
I think it is safe to say that some of them were so terrified of public speaking that they would have had difficulty leading a group in silent prayer.
But that was a year ago.
And a lot can change in a short time.
Especially when determination obliterates obstacles.
And persistence overcomes resistance.
And a readiness to take risks replaces a fear of failure.
And comfort zones are courageously pushed aside in order to conquer lifelong fears.
The six presentations were phenomenal.
Some teams had created videos to help tell their stories, other used images and language to tell theirs. One team even performed a play for us.
They were all different and they were each outstanding.
And as each team concluded their presentation they were wildly applauded by their peers who were as excited by the colleagues successes as they were by their own.
Not a single ill feeling, not a single critical comment.
Just genuine enjoyment of each other’s success.
There is purpose to this story.
Throughout the year I spoke with many of these folks about the progress they were making in developing their projects.
Some of them told me that initial progress had been slow and unsteady.
Much doubt had existed in their individual and collective minds about their ability to select the right topic and to then successfully complete their project.
They didn’t believe they could do this.
And each of those who told me that also told me something else.
When I asked what had changed for themselves and their teams they told me that the tipping point had begun the moment they began to believe that they could.
The moment that happened their confidence soared and creativity and cohesion began to flow in their teams.
Confidence, as you know, is a 10 letter word that means “a feeling that you can” and when you get it, magic happens.
They told me that after a few months in the program, following a couple of rocky starts, they began to believe this was possible.
They started believing in themselves, their team, their creativity and their ability to produce excellence.
And as their doubt faded away, certainty crept in.
The magic began and on Wednesday afternoon, even though a few knees were shaking and a few voices were trembling, we witnessed excellence delivered with supreme confidence.
Many times on these pages we have talked about beliefs.
About how we are what we believe to be true.
About how our beliefs define us.
And about how our beliefs precede our behaviour.
And that when we change our beliefs, everything changes.
And those wonderful folks validated all of that on Wednesday afternoon.
Till we read again.