In our previous articles regarding steps of transformation while in isolation we discussed the caterpillar's journey and process. We explored the value of continued learning and the refusal to remain in our comfort zone. In this final article, we will look at the eagle's amazing sacrifices to reinvent itself.
It is reported that, under normal circumstances, eagles have a long life, spanning up to 30 years. Many of the characteristics that are critical for the success they experience, if not maintained, can become limiting factors, if they are to continue with the same level of success for the remainder of their lives. In order to survive, they have to continually assess everything on which they depend for sustaining life. If the eagle, considered to be the king of the birds, has to reinvent itself to continue its reign, could it be possible that we, too, are required to make ourselves vulnerable so we can continue to operate at the level we know we are capable?
During this time of isolation, let's take lessons from the king! Some of the examples used here may not be based on the actual facts but they do paint an attractive picture for us to consider in real life. Do understand, however, that if you embrace this challenge that I am suggesting, this could be a tough, and potentially, risky decision. You could face the danger of exposing yourself, your frailties, and your weaknesses. Others could take advantage of you during this time. But, if you are surrounded by people who would seek to capitalize on you during this time of isolation, these individuals would most likely have sought to take advantage of you anyway, crisis or no crisis. You will discover who is truly in your corner; who has your back.
One of the first areas the eagle has to address is its long, sharp beak. It continues to grow during its lifetime. To clean its beak, the eagle will wipe or rub it against rough objects like a rock or branch. It has to keep it in top condition because it understands that if the beak is ever destroyed or damaged, that will create a "forced fast." You can take that wherever you like but I choose to interpret it as a time of less talking and more listening; asking the tough questions and then listening to the responses.
1. Listen for the new trends. You don't have to follow every new fad that comes along but you could benefit by being informed.
2. Listen to the spoken and unspoken messages from the people around you. Often, there are lessons that surface from all around us, all of the time.
3. Listen to your inner voice. I believe there is access to an infinite storehouse of knowledge and wisdom available to anyone who makes it a point to seek it out.
Along with maintaining the beak, the eagle also needs to look after its talons. This is the primary method it uses to sustain itself. The long, flexible talons have to be preserved to make sure they do not become non-functional. The skill it relies upon can never begin to fail.
What are you/have you been doing that now seems to have out-lived its shelf life? Have you been relying on your successes from the past for so long that you have missed out on the adjustments that are needed? In his book, Who Moved My Cheese, Spencer Johnson asks, "Are you holding on to the old cheese?" I once heard a thought, (I searched unsuccessfully to find its author) that suggested the greatest danger to success is success because we tend to rely on the same strategies, even after they have proven to no longer be effective.
Every year, many birds, including the eagle, lose their feathers. This process is called "molting." For me, this is symbolic of the eagle ridding itself of its security blanket-the heavy feathers that weigh it down and replacing them with the new. Over time, the wing and tail feathers fall out and are replaced. No, I am not suggesting we disrobe. But I would suggest that we look around for the areas of our lives that we have identified as our securities. There is nothing wrong with having plans and backup plans. I think that is wise. I am warning against layering ourselves with things that we have become so dependent upon; where the effort required to keep them up actually weighs us down. We have to work harder and harder to meet the demands of the job, to protect our image, to maintain the lifestyle to which we have become accustomed.
In the early part of the new century, one of my mentors shared something with me that I have not forgotten and I want to leave it with you..."If your outgo exceeds your income, then your upkeep will be your downfall."
Please understand that, for the eagle, these adjustments occur instinctively. If they did not occur, the eagle is left with only one outcome-DEATH! We, on the other hand, can select our option-we can choose CHANGE. Although the process may be painful, uncomfortable, and lonely, upon resurfacing, we can once again be equipped with everything we need to thrive.
Not many of us like change and even fewer of us embrace it. But, for those who will, the return on the effort, the outcomes, are often greater than anything we could have imagined. We are transformed. Our relationships are strengthened. Our effectiveness soars. We are restored to our rightful place and allowed to maximize on our opportunities. We experience TRANSFORMATION IN ISOLATION!
Share your thoughts or leave your comments on other ways you are looking to maximize your personal and professional growth during this time of isolation.
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