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Eagle vs. Chicken

Being busy and loss of learned focus can cause us to get derailed. Just like a derailleur on a mountain bike, fine-tuning and periodic adjustments to our working components are needed.

I’ve always been in awe of eagles even though it’s only been 5 years since I’ve finally seen one in the wild on Vancouver Island while riding my bike. Chickens on the other hand, I could tell you every behavioral pattern of a chicken after raising them as a kid growing up on the farm. I remember being around 7 years old and asking my Dad one day while we spread the chicken feed, “Why don’t chickens want to use their wings and fly over that low fence?” My Dad’s response was along the lines of, “because they are happy being fenced in.”

I may come to attract eagles instinctively, since my Mom has a deep desire to see one in the wild. This is especially true as one of her cherished Principal retirement gifts is an eagle feather that she received from her First Nations Vice Principal. Ironically, on my last visit to Vancouver Island, my 1-year-old son picked out an eagle in the sky flying over us well before I noticed it. My mind was unfortunately too occupied to notice I guess.

In 2010 when I took my Acupuncture training at McMaster University, I trained under the wise and skillful hand of Dr. Alejandro Elorriaga Claraco. Alex, as we would address him, trained our keen Acupuncture abilities while enhancing our self-awareness for business strategies and the ultimate goal in genuinely helping others. To this day Dr. Alejandro is one of the most inspirational and knowledgeable individuals I have met.

One email that Alex sent to the alumni gave a good comparison of an eagle versus a chicken. Here it is:

Eagles are true learners, they attend every professional event that can give them an additional edge. Eagles are committed to excellence. Eagles work hard and smart. Eagles jump at the opportunity. Eagles make no excuses. Eagles are self-reliant. Eagles have vision and practice delayed gratification. Eagles enjoy very fulfilling and successful careers.

In contrast, Chickens desire (intensely some times), but wait (forever), and hope, and make excuses, and complain…but do not take the right action. On top of that, and according to Wikipedia (always a reliable source), the world’s oldest chicken, a hen, died of heart failure at the age of 16 (information taken from the Guinness Book of World Records). Enough said.

That comparison has always resonated with me.

In 2011 I got down on one knee and proposed marriage to my now wife, Amy. We were in Tofino, BC. The only spectator to this proposal was a massive bald eagle perched on a tree about 30 meters away. Hmmm, why was that eagle watching us?

Amy accepted the marriage proposal and life has been soaring ever since. While enjoying Tofino we visited an ocean-side, west coast native gift shop. There was a set of beautiful silver, eagle and whale engraved serving spoons that I just had to have. Upon purchase, the native gentleman behind the counter gave me a piece of paper, as he piercingly looked at me and said, “You’ll want this. It goes with the spoons.” The inscription on the paper read:

The eagle is a symbol of intelligence, power, peace & friendship to the West Coast Native People. Once an eagle finds a mate they will be with each other for life.

Eagles attract to other eagles. Eagles want to do business with other eagles. The next time you have a choice for business, health or life progression, look for the eagle in the crowd. Associating with other eagle-minded individuals prevents us from becoming derailed and keeps our eyes and goals in flight.

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Insightful, trusted and valued are the words that come to mind when I describe Garret’s coaching influence. Garret has a proven calm and patient ability to shift my thinking forward, even when I thought I had exhausted all options. I look forward to my Coaching sessions to connect with Garret’s perception and ideas both personally and professionally. He has a unique talent for asking the right questions, holding me capable and ensuring I have the tools to continue my momentum. I feel inspired and have regained the clarity I was seeking to help me focus on the most important aspects of my life.

- Rachel Mielke, CEO of Hillberg and Berk

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