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Des Bit

Learning to Fly!

Hi everyone,

When you have been through pain and feel like you just keep being knocked down, it becomes increasingly difficult to get back up again. But the key to success is not just getting back up and doing the same old thing: it’s getting up and learning to fly.

Can you imagine how a mother bird feels when it is time to literally push her chick out of the nest and teach it to fly? The animal and bird world have a lot they can teach us about rearing our young and then setting them free.

Every mother bird cares for her young hoping that all of her chicks will survive and not tumble from the nest to the ground and die. It does happen, but she is prepared to take that risk, and in doing so eventually setting free the chicks that survive.

I was sitting in my home office one day looking out of the window at the roses that were blooming in my front garden. They truly were glorious. I was most impressed about the fact that I had planted them, and they had not died. An unusual event indeed.

Suddenly I saw one of the rose bushes move quite dramatically. Wondering what might be causing this movement, I walked outside to take a look. To my amazement, at the top of the rose bush, about five feet from the ground, was a perfectly formed birds’ nest, housing a mother bird and her three small chicks. I was mesmerised by this discovery.

Why in the world, when my house was surrounded by beautiful trees, would this mother make her home in such a low and somewhat flimsy dwelling?
Then it hit me what a smart mother and protector she was.

You see, every night a thunderous event would take place on my roof. Possums would move from tree to tree and house to house in search of food, and my roof was a part of their hunting track, so much so that they would often keep me awake. The mother bird knew this and so her way of protecting her young was to build a home covered in thorns that was not accessible to these potential killers of the night.

As the weeks went by I witnessed the growth of the three young chicks. They were growing at a rapid rate and it was evident that unless they soon learned to fly they would be too big for the home their mother had so lovingly built.
And sure enough, the inevitable happened!

One morning I walked out to look at the bird family. On the ground below their home lay one of the chicks, pushed out of the nest to make room for the stronger chicks. All of that work and energy from the mother, to then see one of her young not make it through.

Within a week the other two chicks flew away, followed by the mother bird. She had done her job and now she had to prepare to begin the whole process again.

This whole event really disturbed me, but in a good way.

How similar this story is to our lives, both personally and in business. You try so hard to build a safe environment, you nurture your people right up until the time that they need to fly themselves; and yet it doesn’t matter how much you do, some learn to fly and others just don’t make it.

You see, even though I have focused on the chick on the ground, there are two beautiful birds out there flying around and creating a life of their own, all because of the work and care that a mother demonstrated.

Some of the people you coach, and mentor just won’t make it, but others will learn to fly and create a better world because of you.

What a privilege!

There comes a time when all of us have to jump and trust in our ability to fly.

Des Penny
Co-CEO

Proteus Leadership
(Modified excerpt from Life Eyes book)

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