I am fortunate that I live on a small lake brimming with wildlife from geese to turtles, alligators and bald and golden eagles, fish to ducks, bats to lizards and the occasional sea gulls. Having been in my home for 6 years now and the opportunity to observe nature, I have learned much about the cycle of life and the natural flow of the interactions of all things.
A recent observation by my husband is appropriate for giving an analogy to nature and our own human life behaviors and unfolding of events.
My husband heard a rustling going on in the lake and quickly went out to our porch to see what was going on. Over time we have enjoyed watching how the bald eagles, osprey and golden eagles fish. They can be graceful at times, while at other times it can take them many tries before they achieve their goals of catching a fish.
There was one golden eagle whom my husband had been watching for a few months. He was always waiting for another bird to catch a fish and then he would swoop under them and snatch the fish. We pegged him a “taker” as he never did his own fishing.
One day, he decided to catch his own fish. Bad idea! He was not prepared for what was to happen next, since he was always taking from others.
It seems the fish was too big for him and he overestimated his ability to fish for himself. Upside down on top of the water he went. Feverishly flapping his wings to right himself, he drew attention to the commotion.
As my husband watched helplessly trying to decide if he would wade out and rescue the poor guy, nature took care of the issue.
Within minutes, before my husband could act, all of the sudden the golden eagle was being jolted from left to right and soon one wing was ripped away from his body, then the other and ultimately the golden eagle was ripped to shreds.
The attackers were alligator snapping turtles. Vicious little creatures. The golden eagle did not have a chance. The snapping turtles could represent the various obstacles we encounter in the business world and the attacks we endure. With the ability to be able to fish on his own, without taking from others, the golden eagle would have been able to be totally upright and avoid being overcome by the snapping turtles.
When I arrived home from work, my husband shared with me what he saw and we talked about how this applies to human life experiences. Having been in the corporate world for over 30 years in sales training and GM positions, my husband understands the dynamics of give, take, collaboration and cooperation.
Upon discussing this experience, we recognize that in business when a person surrounds themselves with people they have do everything for them and they only take, ultimately it is to their own demise. Often we may find there are people who will steal ideas, use it for their own and take credit for it.
They are not able to perform as a stand-alone entity and are the weak link in business. It is important for everyone in a department to fulfill their responsibility. Each one has to be able to depend on their own skills and not take away from others in order to succeed.
This type of person, who takes and does not develop their own unique skills, will come to a point where they must perform, they will fail and falter in the ability to stay upright. We must be in a give and take relationship with those we work with, lead and train.
It is possible the golden eagle had a family and was trying to feed them. In his desperation and responsibility for others, he tried something that was not the norm for him. The results were devastating and created loss not just for himself but for those he supported.
As a leader, it is important to encourage those you lead to learn how to step into another’s responsibility and collaborate so that when alone to do a job, it can be accomplished with ease and ultimately success.
When the day comes that you will need to be responsible for action and progress and you have not been actively creating and collaborating, your ability to stand on your own two feet will be minimized. You have the opportunity to learn to delegate without taking advantage of others and being part of a team.
Nature is a wonderful teacher and by watching how others behave and the results of those behaviors, being they are animals or humans, we can learn a lot about ourselves and our own place in the work environment.
Are you doing your own fishing?