Sometimes you just need to go for it… take a deep breath, walk out on that limb, and reach for what you want. It’s unstable territory, it probably won’t be comfortable, but implementing the plan must happen in order to achieve success. The little bird in my picture puts herself out there every day to feed her family. Shouldn’t we do the same in the pursuit of our goals? Bugs (successes) rarely walk right by your nest within easy reach.
This little bird is persistent and resilient. If she misses her target, she selects another branch and tries again. She anticipates the wind and how the branches might sway. She listens attentively for the calls of her peers warning of the red-shouldered hawk that lives nearby. Or the neighbor’s cat. She knows her strengths and learns from her environment to choose her opportunities carefully.
Sometimes we choose the wrong approach. Unlike birds, humans don’t have wings to lift them when they fall. Birds simply flap their wings and return to the nearest branch. Humans check for broken bones, knock the dust off, and get back on our feet again. Unfortunately, during recovery, a competitor may swoop in and nab the juicy bug or maybe we landed on a cactus and the sticker removal process delays our next step.
When our target shifts, or the planned approach fails, we gain new insights that enable us to improve our strategies and better gauge the possibilities. Here are the 3 insights we learn from the birds:
Reach for It! There is so much truth in the adage “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Go ahead! Reach for those successes. Congratulations if you nabbed that bug (goal) on the first attempt! If not, know that missing your target helps you practice and grow.
Try Again. Persistence is key. After you’ve settled on a nearby branch (or picked out the cactus spines) it’s time to evaluate your options. Seek to identify new possibilities by approaching your target from a different angle. Adapt your methods, amend your targets (if needed), and take another shot.
Collaborate. Don’t get carried off by a hungry hawk in your haste to get things done. Today’s complex projects cannot be implemented in isolation. Listen to the advice or leadership and your peers. Evaluate the options and make informed decisions. Positive and constructive feedback prepares you for your next attempt.
What will you reach for today? Pick a starting point and act. If you miss your target, try again! Be open to new experiences and feedback. Monitor the conditions and adapt as needed.
Here are some additional resources you might want to look at:
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (Duckworth, 2013)
Cutting Through the Complexity: A Roadmap for Effective Collaboration (Ehrlichman, Sawyer & Spence, 2018)