Chasing Rainbows

A few weekends ago I went up to the Rocky Mountain National Park with a friend, something I like to do as often as possible. I was looking forward to a hike up to beautiful Loch Lake. Unfortunately the 30% rain forecast turned into 100%.

As we drove into the park wondering if the weather might lift, we suddenly noticed a rainbow. It was a beauty! Cars were pulling off the road all over the place to snap photos and we joined them.

It was the closest I’ve ever been to a rainbow. It looked to be a quarter mile ahead of us. Since it was still raining, with gusting winds and little hope for a hike, we decided to try to get even closer, perhaps underneath! As we drove around corners and deeper into the park, the rainbow became even more beautiful.

My friend and I were delighted at the stunning vision. We were having a wonderful experience, even though our original plan of hiking had been thwarted. “This is one of the most amazing experiences of my life,” she said.

As we continued to pursue the rainbow, I suddenly understood the literal meaning of the phrase “chasing rainbows.” The metaphoric meaning, of course, is the pursuit of a dream that we know is most likely never going to come true.

Wow! I wondered: Could this fantastic experience really be considered a waste of time? As a coach I spend a lot of time helping people pursue and achieve their dreams even though in the business world we learn to “be practical,” focus on the bottom line, and be efficient. In other words, don’t be chasing rainbows. But isn’t that what entrepreneurs do?

What if chasing rainbows is actually a good thing?

We can get so bogged down in “reality” that we lose that spark, that charge which is generated when our imaginations are fully in gear, pursuing possibilities that may seem. . . well, impossible.

Yet, we’ve all known people that have chased a dream and actually achieved it. And even if our dream doesn’t materialize in the exact way we’d hoped, we’ve had an opportunity to discover things about ourselves – our courage, our creativity, our problem solving ability, our perseverance.

Not to mention that, in the pursuit of rainbows, we may meet people we never would have, some of whom become close and trusted allies. We discover new paths we never would have, had we not chased that rainbow. In other words, we expand and we grow. And even though we may or may not catch our rainbow, we will evolve, sometimes even transform in ways we can’t even imagine.

So don’t be afraid to chase a few rainbows. Take a few steps and see where it leads you. Because somewhere over the rainbow dreams really do come true.

© 2014 Anne Alexander, all rights reserved in all media

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