Geese are elegant, intelligent, loyal, majestic and creative. They soar through the sky with a sense of destiny and beauty. I recently captured this photo of them as I walked along the port area of Dublin city. I stood there as the sun rose, watching them fly together in a unity so incredible I held my breath.
So allow me to share some of the stunning things I have discovered about geese, that quite frankly distinguish them from lots of animals or birds we have; and to be honest, I found myself wanting to be a lot more like our feathered friend than I had ever imagined before…
Geese mate for life and will live a loyal life of faithfulness to one partner, even after their mate passes away.
A group of geese is called a gaggle – if they are flying they are known as a skein or wedge.
They choose to fly in a”V” shape so as to increase their flying power and range by at least 70%. By sharing the air space they make the flight easier for those flying with them. They look out for each other.
When the goose in front tires or grows weary another goose takes its place and then the tired goose moves back to rest, and into position to complete the formation.
While they are flying in formation they honk at each other to send encouagement to each other on the journey.
Geese care for each other; they look out for the other geese in their gaggle, to see if they are okay. If one gets sick, is attacked or hurt and drifts or falls from the formation, others will also leave the “V” shape and go to protect the injured goose. They stay with the sick goose until it recovers or dies. They will not leave it alone.
A young goose will find a mate for itself when it is only 3 years of age. If one of the pair dies the remaining goose will live many years without finding another mate. Most times the widowed goose lives the remainder of its life without a partner.
Male geese prefer to show very protective and kind behaviour towards the females in the group. They have been known to stand or fly between danger and the female in the situation; so beautiful and so courageous.
Geese choose to vocalize their messages to each other in a variety of ten different ways; it depends on the situation but they can stretch their necks or make loud honks in order to send a signal to others.
Geese live together and hatch a new gosling yearly, then both parents are involved in minding and taking care of the newborn.
The list goes on…
So…which characteristic was your favourite? Possibly, like me, you chose a few. One thing I found myself thinking as I read this list, is that I want to be more like geese. I want to love deeper, care for loved ones in a more devoted way. I want to be known as one who is faithful to the mate I choose for life. I want to go to rescue the hurting and stay with them until they can fly and join the group again. I want to be known as one who looks out for the dangers that are lurking and preying on my counterparts. I want to be so much more like a goose than I had ever thought of before…
If you feel the same then let’s honk and make the choice to stick together…
If my little thoughts today have inspired you then please give me a share and a like…every ‘honk’ lets me know that you are with me…and we are looking out for each other…
It is so important that we do not let our failures break us, but that we choose to bend with the storms life sends us, and find a greater strength than before. Yes, these are easy words to write, but I can safely say I am doing this very thing myself.
I feel motivated by the deep emotion shown by the 2016 Olympians. Their enthusiasm and dedication has awakened a new desire in me to overcome obstacles and hindrances in my own life. How we handle defeat reveals more about our character than how we handle success. I am so moved by some of the Olympians who gave their very best, but were unsuccessful in winning a medal. Today they make their journeys home and try to pick up the pieces that disappointment and loss have dealt them. I want to tell them that they are champions too, whether they wear a medal around their courageous necks or not.
One such Olympian quoted the following:
“The only thing I ever wanted was to compete in the Olympics.”
(Syria’s Yusra Mardini, representing the Games’ first ever refugee team, after winning her 100m butterfly heat.)
I want to say to these amazing Olympians that you can bend without breaking; that what you’re waiting for could be just around the bend…if you can choose not to let the challenges drive you aroundthe bend or lose your mind in the process.
For so many Olympians like the horse jumping champion Nick Skelton, taking part in the 2016 Olympics was a matter of great courage. The veteran British Olympian, aged 58, who quit the sport in 2000 after breaking his neck in two places, vowed: “I am not going to stop now.” Nick Skelton, riding Big Star, won a dramatic six-rider jump-off to claim GB’s first show jumping gold to become the oldest winner of an equestrian event.
Imagine what Skelton would have missed had he given up in 2000, or allowed the fear of ever recovering from a broken neck govern his future. His horse, perfectly named Big Star, had almost been put into retirement too, but Nick Skelton believed that they could come to Rio and win. To even have the opportunity to be an Olympian was a huge achievement for both rider and horse alike. If he had allowed a broken neck to literally break him, his future would not hold the amazing gold medal achievement he enjoys today.
But Nick is a winner, even if he had not won gold. Each Olympian is a winner simply because they overcome so many tough and challenging circumstances in order to compete. There are so many motivational stories being shared every day about the obstacles and personal health setbacks that many overcome in order to finally be in Rio. I am sure a book could be written with all their moving and exhilarating accomplishments. To me, it is one of the reasons I found myself glued to the televised overage each night.
“When life’s strong winds come blowing, bend with them and let go. By bending, you will become stronger in new places. By letting go, you will be making room for the new and the better.”
You are all amazing individuals; you have chosen to bend, but not to break. How you choose to handle your defeats speaks volumes to the world waiting to see strength overcome weakness. Well done! I applaud you because you move me to keep persevering and bend with the storms of life.
The 2016 Olympics have ended, and as I watch the energy of the closing ceremony, I want to awaken a desire in us to overcome the obstacles that try to break us. Make a decision now, that by the time the 2020 Olympics start, you will be able to look back and see how very much stronger you have grown!
“Be careful that you do not create what you fear.” – These are pretty powerful words aren’t they? They stopped me in my tracks today. They arrested my attention and commanded my analysis and response.
What are we afraid of? What keeps you awake at night, feeling afraid or overwhelmed? Write it down right now…clearly, boldly and honestly. Okay…now on the same piece of paper I want you to write down any behaviour that you are currently endorsing in your life that in anyway contributes to these fears coming to pass in your life. Is there something you are doing, or not doing, that will help these feared circumstances actually becoming your very real reality?
It is time to trade up…it is time to trade in your fears, change your behaviours and dramatically change the course your life is on. In order to have the life you dream of you must be all in, there is no halfway commitment to what is required.
You are amazing. You have capabilities beyond what you can even believe. You have strengths and competencies that make you the valuable and precious person you are. If there is a chance that this short little blog stirs you, then please act on it. Let August 1st, 2016, be the day the game changes. What is it you are losing to? What is taking you off track? What is more important to you right now than achieving the lifelong dreams you carry around in your heart every day? Begin to believe in the person you are, and in the potential you have.
I wrote these words for you today, as much as I need them myself too. Even the most successful people you know, need a gentle push in the right direction sometimes. So here it is, a gentle push from me. Make the changes, even if you are white-knuckle riding for a while. Decide on the destination you are dreaming of and make it happen. Your life will pass you by, so make it the kind of movie you want it to be.
I believe in you. It is time to trade-up. Trade in your fears and change the route you are on. You can do it. Let today be the game-changer, the day it all begins. Be careful that you do not create what you fear…don’t let self-sabotage ruin all the great possibility that you possess.
In this age of digital and personal development, many have thrown around the term USP, or otherwise known as your Unique Selling Point. Some folks find it easy to identify these incredible strengths in others, but struggle to evaluate these attributes in themselves, their talents or their business offering.
As entrepreneurs, communicators or anyone with a dream, it is vital that you know what your unique strengths are, and utilise them in all of your business endeavours.
Let’s break it down into smaller parts and evaluate the significance of this term. When you are asked about your business, your skills, your capabilities or accomplishments, do you struggle to see what makes you unique? If you do, don’t worry, you are not alone in this dilemma. But if you do not challenge this weakness it will hold you back in every area where you seek to be successful. It is like carrying out a SWOT analysis on yourself, while determining where you are most likely to achieve your business goals.
So take a pen and paper, and jot down the words that come to mind as you answer these questions: There is no wrong answer, just be as honest as you can.
What differentiates you from what your competitors are doing or offering?
How do you add value in the industry or market you are currently in?
If you were not doing what you are doing, what would your consumers or customers miss out on?
When you wake up in the morning, are you motivated by the thought that you can make a difference in your work day, and if so, how?
Okay – how do you feel in the pit of your stomach right now? Are you chasing a goal that actually has no real value to your heart? Is there a possibility that you are stuck in your comfort zone and are no longer excited about what you are doing? If this is the case, then make the decision today to ‘unglue’ yourself from this place of underachieving.
“Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.” – Jim Rohn
Your skill set may be perfectly matched to the industry you are working in, so it just may be the case that you need to sharpen your focus in a more dynamic way. Either way, unless we challenge these thoughts, we can find ourselves drifting along with no real motivation and certainly having no lasting impression on those we desperately want to impact in business and life.
“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”
Author of The Inner Game series of books
Sometimes we are truly inspired by the incredible people in our lives who ‘coach’ us and cheer us on in our endeavours and adventures, but there are other seasons in life when we must decide to be our own coach, and that is where the inner game comes to play! I love the ideas in the book The Inner Game of Golf, by Timothy Gallway. I first began to read it because I love the mental disciplines of golf, and wanted to be a great caddie for my dad, and other golfers. I quickly noticed that the game of golf closely resembles the disciplines needed to actually do anything right, not just golf.
“When we plant a rose seed in the earth, we notice that it is small, but we do not criticize it as “rootless and stemless.” We treat it as a seed, giving it the water and nourishment required of a seed. When it first shoots up out of the earth, we don’t condemn it as immature and underdeveloped; nor do we criticize the buds for not being open when they appear. We stand in wonder at the process taking place and give the plant the care it needs at each stage of its development. The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change; yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly alright as it is.” – Timothy Gallway
If you play golf, then you will be more than familiar with your thinking process as you move from swing, drive, shot to fairway, (trees?, water?, OOB?, or bunker?) green, and the hole… During these transitions, what matters is what you think about as you walk to the next shot! It is a lot like life. isn’t it? If you are swinging your way through the trees and trying to find your way back to the better fairways of your life, how you think about who you are, your potential and your goals, makes a humdinger of a difference! It impacts how you end the game, both in golf and in life!
Imagine you are the seed mentioned in Tim Gallway’s quote above; how do you really measure your worth? Can you be patient with your awesome little steps. even if they seem so small compared to others? Can you see that with each day you are possibly letting go of the old way of doing things, and with each new attempt to open up to new things, you are becoming more ‘you’ than you had previously been? Yes, you may need a magnifying glass to see the growth, but you need to be your own best cheerleader and not underestimate the power of the small steps you are taking. As you transition from one part of the game to the next, you need to watch how you think. You need to let go of how the last shot played out and get truly focused on the next shot and give it socks! We all know the quotes out there about letting go of the past and moving on, but it is not always as easy to do as we would like. It also depends on whether the last shot was a success or not.
Are you dragging your driver and your feet to the next shot? If you are, it’s okay, you can change what happens next in your ‘game’. But, if you allow the negative results from badly taken shots determine your confidence and enthusiasm, then you are in for a disastrous ‘game of life’ my friend. Trust me, I know. It matters what you think and do between ‘swings’. and the game of golf is much more about life, then many of us, especially a learner caddie, ever realised!
It may be time to change clubs, rethink your focus, take some time out or just enjoy the challenge instead of worrying about what may or may not happen. Sometimes the ‘game’ goes the way it does through no fault of our own. Just keep showing up, give it your best shot and never stop believing that you are learning as you grow! Don’t focus on other people’s game, just make sure that you show up for yours.
In recent days, I have had the privilege of sharing deep, honest, and raw conversations with people who are struggling through tough situations. I must say that your heartfelt transparency reveals a beautiful mystery.
The concept of finding peace in a broken place carries with it a contrast as striking as a solitary dove sitting in a broken window; sometimes there is peace in simply choosing to be still.
At times, life calls us to navigate through uncharted waters and unfamiliar paths. We may not have chosen this direction but must employ the greatest courage and strength in order to endure it. If you are a strong person, then strength is your default setting, but even strong people may still prefer to take an easier route. Unfortunately, in a broken place, there can be moments where you would rather break down than break through!
They, (whoever they are), say, “what does not kill you, serves to make you stronger“, and it is not until you find yourself in a broken place that you can honestly put these words to the test. What is a broken place? It can be a place where a promise has been broken, or a dream has been shattered. You, yourself, may feel broken, or overwhelmed by the road that lies before you, or indeed memories of days gone by. Circumstances have possibly left you tired or drained by this broken road of unwanted outcomes.
You may remember a recent post I wrote titled: “Broken Crayons Still Colour“, where I reminded our dear hearts that even in our broken seasons, we still possess the same incredible qualities and strengths that make us who we are. We can still find peace in a broken place, because the One who gives us peace still reigns and orders our steps. We may not have all the answers to our questions, nor the strength to wait patiently for those answers, but nevertheless, God is still who He said He is and He will never abandon those He is committed to. He sees what our weak human eyes cannot. He hears the unspoken prayers of our tired hearts. He listens when you sigh in the dark and pray for a way through the circumstances you find yourself in.
He knows. He hears, He cares, and He will make a way. It is in these hard circumstances that He will reveal new things to you. He is able to create something amazing where there seemed to be nothing visible or possible. He will reveal new things in His relationship with you, that will help you to trust Him, even when you are weary from wondering. There is a place of peace in this moment for you, even when all seems lost. You can walk through this situation with absolute assurance that God is walking with you and carrying you through every weary step, unforeseen challenge, and daunting decision.
Stop right now, and quietly surrender every aspect of your life to Him. Quieten your heart and allow His peace to come into your confusion and mayhem, and carry you. It is a daily choice where surrender and gratitude walk hand in hand. You don’t have to deny how you feel, but in bringing it to Him you allow the divine exchange to take place; where He takes your burdens and gives you His peace. I don’t write these words flippantly or easily; as I too am walking a road where I must decide to trust God even in the unknown. I write these words to let you know that you do not walk alone, for there are many of us walking this path with you. Others may never see the hidden disappointments and fears that we are encountering and overcoming on a daily basis, but God sees.
Even in this broken place, His peace can be your constant strength and companion.
I may not know you, but He does, and today I am praying for you.
For the past few days this phrase has rolled in and out of my thoughts…a lot. And every time it hushes me into contemplation. So today, surrounded by lemons and cough bottle, the morning sun beaming through my window, and a softly flickering fire in my hearth, I write to you…to speak softly yet directly to your heart.
I could write lots on this four-worded title, quite easily and elaborately, indeed until the cows come home…but that is not entirely what my intentions are; instead I want to share something of a gem with you that will shine hope and inspiration, and determination into that backbone of yours. When I ponder over the word broken it brings to mind many images. A person can feel broken from disappointment, unemployment, divorce, loss, disillusionment, sadness or grief. A season of brokenness can overcome a person who finds themselves in unplanned circumstances. Brokenness can come in many shapes and sizes, but one thing it conveys is that the person feels useless, undervalued or discarded. Here is where I want to jump in with a sunbeam and shed some light on this somewhat negative idea.
Think for a moment, about a crayon.
✎ ✍ ✎
(Yes, deep I know!)
When a crayon is broken, is it no longer a crayon? No. It still has all the colour and substance inside it prior to being broken, it has just experienced a change to its outer appearance. You may be walking through what feels like a tough battle, and though you feel like throwing your hands up in despair, don’t. Instead throw them up in victory because you are choosing to walk through this and seize your ever-welcome breakthrough. You are still that same person before life sent some things to challenge you. You still possess those amazing qualities that so many admire.
All of the essence of who you are is still within you. You are still that capable, intelligent, impressive individual now. You just need to keep being your amazing self and sit the storm out. Don’t let it weaken the dreams you have, or the value you assign to your potential. You can still colour, and you can still bring your marvelous colour into the lives of those around you.
Resist the temptation to give up. I love using broken crayons, they have an edge, sharpness and accuracy about them that an unbroken crayon just does not have. I can use it to get into tight corners and even leave a greater depth of colour than a blunt, unbroken crayon allows me.
So hang in there, whatever colour you are, you still have it. You still carry all of the great brightness and beauty that make you who you are. One day you will look back on this and see how it shaped and fashioned you into a stronger and more resilient person. Your true colours will keep shining through. You will walk out of this season with the durability and determination that only this season could have given you. Only those who have been lost in the storm are then able to help others find their way out of theirs. People need what you have, in fact they need it much more than you realise.
Find your ‘umph‘ again, turn your ‘try‘ into ‘triumph‘. Don’t worry, you are not on your own, there’s a lot of us right there with you.
Forrest Gump said that ‘Life is like a box of chocolates‘, and sometimes I think it’s also a lot like a ‘box of crayons‘. So today, remember that ‘Broken Crayons Still Colour!’