Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The "Baby Bird Syndrome"

One must be very careful when running 10 miles before the sun even comes up...alone...with the stars. That kind of calm, peace, and time to process "life" can bring forth much. Today was one of those days. It was 29F, no snow or slick spots on the road, no wind, and hundreds of stars up above. No moon, either, so it was truly dark. I never wear a headlamp, either, and judge my footfalls by dark spots and light spots on the road. Dark = roadkill or pothole so jump over it and go around! (lessons learned on both counts)
So baby birds...frail, weak, and ever-hungry for their next meal. They can't fly yet so they're "trapped" in a way inside of their nest. They could escape, though, but a fall most likely follows along with a broken wing and almost certain death by a dominating species such as a cat, raccoon, or something furry with sharp teeth. So the baby bird screams, flaps their little wing-dings around, and eats whatever mama brings them.
A disclaimer before I continue: I don't wake up or come back from a run wondering what I can impart to my readers because I think "they" need to hear what I have to say. Nearly always, it's my own digesting and processing of "stuff" I'm going through in my life right now. Details aren't needed nor are they often provided due to the nature of my work and service to my country. However, the thoughts and musings herein apply universally, regardless of the walk we each lead. With that said, I continue...
Ever feel like that "baby bird" in your job or in a social/church/running situation? You feel trapped in a way, you lack control to truly make a difference, and your survival is truly controlled by someone "feeding" you what you need to survive? Eventually a baby bird grows up and learns to fly (providing it's not eaten before that by some prey) and the world multiplies by a gazillion. Until then...what do you do? You could wade around in your sorrow and commit yourself to insanity, complain often, create heartache for those around you, perhaps even strife, and leave your emotions all over your sleeve to rub off on anyone within ear shot of you. Sound familiar? I propose that this is the "normal" way. The way chosen for us unless we choose a different path. After all, it's the selfish approach which is how we're born into our bodies back on our birthday.
How about we flip that around and figure out how to thrive in the nest while we grow? How about we find the positives from our vantage point? That baby bird can surely see the puffy white clouds, stars in the sky at night, and stays awfully warm under mama's fat belly. Rest up, prepare, dream, and get strong...all preps to fly one day. Same baby bird, two choice to make.
If you have a business education, you most likely had to endure at least one marketing class. If so, you most likely have heard of SWOT Analysis...or Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. It's how you look at your yourself and your competition. It's a way to exploit those areas otherwise missed. I like to use it in management and also along my personal walk. Let me challenge you to use it if I'm describing you today and your curious how to turn things around right where you are this moment.
First off, draw a vertical line and horizontal line, crossing in the center to create 4 quadrants. From the top left and moving clockwise, write the four categories. Now start: Write down your strengths and be honest. Capitalize on them! Make them known. How about where you're weak? We all have those areas so as you prepare to fly one day, focus on developing those areas and growing...becoming stronger and more competitive. Opportunities? Do you see any? No? Look harder and think at the 30,000 foot level. Think BIG. DREAM big! Don't cut yourself short with "I can't." "I shouldn't." "I'd fail." NO! Seek out opportunities to fly, write them down...pursue them. So how about any threats in your way? For me, I can name names for sure! The thing is this: we can't change people. We can influence them and often through non-verbal ways but we can't just change them. So identify them and learn how to survive in the nest without getting eaten. That doesn't mean you change who you are...but change "how" you live in there while working on the other areas.
So yea, you may be that struggling baby bird, but you can survive. I can survive, too. Remember, this is helping me, too or else it wouldn't have presented itself to me in the dark of morning today. The time to start is now, too. Don't wait and stop living in your funk. Get OUT of it and smile. It's contagious and you should seek to infect everyone around you!
So get strong, Baby Bird. Your time to fly is coming and you need to be ready.

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