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!
Welcome to my latest blog piece for the Irish Academy of Public Relations…
What is your PB? (And no, I don’t mean peanut butter…) =) If you have been gripped by the exciting moments of triumph and devastation that the Olympics bring, then you will know that PB means ‘Personal Best’, and it is usually the absolute desire of every athlete to beat their previous PB record, and win an Olympic gold medal on the way.
Every time I have watched these amazingly well trained Olympians champion their course I am reminded of my own PB, in various areas of my life. When I wake up in the morning I am learning to remind myself that today is a new day to challenge my personal best. I can always try to improve on the choices I made yesterday and give my absolute best in all I endeavour to do.
Michael Phelps has astonished all who have been watching his journey. He has come back from great challenges and a retirement, to win more medals than he even believed he could himself.
Michael’s 200m butterfly gold medal made him the oldest swimmer to win an individual Olympic title at 31 years of age. He has earned the title, ‘GOAT’ – ‘the greatest of all time’, and quite frankly he is a medal machine! As I watched him shed a tear as he held his new three month old son, my eyes filled with tears with him. It felt exhilarating to watch him kick his doubts, fears and physical challenges to the curb and go for gold. My blood raced with motivation and excitement as I watched the faces of the crowds who applauded him; I thought to myself how many of them have overcome their own PB challenges too, and are living testimonies to the same courage we see in Michael Phelps?
Your PB may only matter to you…there may never be a gold medal placed around your neck, but that does not diminish the innate value in giving your best. You can award yourself every day; every time you overcome a challenge or advance towards something you dearly want.
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.
I hope my title grabbed your attention…an odd one I know, but this short thought for today will inspire you, I believe.
I woke one morning, eager to start my day with soul food and coffee, but before my feet even hit the carpet, a deep dread overshadowed my short-lived enthusiasm. I was quickly overwhelmed by thoughts of the things in my life that were seemingly incomplete to me. My mind became overcrowded with unanswered prayers and waited-on promises. I instantly felt down in the dumps, and downtrodden by worry and regret. I knew I had a choice to make…I could either choose misery or joy. But misery was winning.
Then in the stillness of a kettle boiling and birds singing near my open window, the still small voice of Hope spoke to my heart: “Life is like a donut…you can either choose to look at the hole in the middle, which represents all that you feel is missing from your life… OR you can choose to look at the amazing things that surround you every day, that fill your life with joy, hope, goodness and countless other precious things…the choice is yours!”
My negative worrying was stopped in its tracks… and with a freshly made cup of brilliance in my hand I made my way over to sit bathed in the sunshine beaming in through my window. For a few moments I quietly let those powerful words permeate my being. It made no sense to keep staring at that empty hole in the middle of the gloriously beautiful donut of life, and yet my heart was weary of waiting, weary of trying to figure things out. I was just plain weary. I picked up my reading passages for the day and continued to try to banish those irritating negative thoughts. Then I read this: ‘What God accomplishes in you while you are waiting, is often more important than the thing you are waiting for.”(UCB Radio)
BOOM! I was stunned by the truth of those words…that even though what I am praying and waiting for is of such importance to me and God, and indeed those involved, there is a deeper work that is far more attractive to the heart and plan of God. He is watching my growth, my faithfulness, my determination to trust Him, among many other things. Suddenly my shoulders dropped from their anxious position and I realised I could find peace instead of striving. My agenda was refocused and I could see the donut, instead of what was missing in the middle. Peace came. I did not find the answers I wanted, but I found the answers I needed for that moment. Tomorrow is another day, and He will come with what my soul needs. So for today I will enjoy the donut, the blessings, the journey and all that is happening to make me the person in whom God finds delight. There are treasures in dark times, and great joy to be found in the waiting seasons of our lives…It all boils down to which part of the donut you choose to focus on and appreciate.
Enjoy the donut that is your life…find the genuine blessings that surround you every day…for this is the key to unlocking true joy in every circumstance of life.
Today I was reminded of something very beautiful.. .. .. in a small intricate way, yet it was profoundly deep too. It wasn’t revealed to me in a loud bellowing sign or a screamed message from the sky – nope it came as a whisper, a soft still whisper. But I heard it, and that’s what counts.
You see, God is a communicator.. .. .. He loves to speak and be heard. He longs to tell us new things, speak new dreams into our weary hearts. He wants to design new ways to shine His colourful world through us, like a rainbow pointing to His promises. Yes others see the rain falling in your life, but that only gives God an opportunity to shine His rainbow, as a display for all to see that He keeps His promises.
But there are times when God speaks in a quiet simple way that is meant for just you – a moment of intimate communication between Him and you. The Grand Weaver ceases the shuttles from flying, pushes the stop button, and chooses to be still and sit with just you. Or maybe it is that we, in all of our busyness choose to be still with Him and allow Him to be heard? For, He wants to say something.
Today, I chased off after the sun for a while. Little did I know that God was indeed chasing after me.
I allowed myself to get lost in sun rays and soak up some wonderful heat – and although I was surrounded by people, I was lost in a quiet moment with my Creator. He and I, and nobody else (for NOBODY else could have distracted me from God’s voice, not even the French guy who stopped to ask me for my digits! Eh, no way man!)
And I sat, with a million different thoughts racing for first position in my head, all scrambling to be my priority for the day. I too allowed the shuttles to cease from flying and I stopped everything, in order to be still. He came. He spoke to my heart. He allowed me to feel His presence in the warm breeze that wrapped around me. He blew sunshine kisses upon my face and reminded me how special I am to Him. He told me of His promises to keep me, to love me, to watch over me in all of my ways. I felt the simple yet incredibly beautiful ₩Ö₩ Factor of God.
So what is the ₩Ö₩ Factor? Well in the dictionary, WOW means: an exclamation of surprise, wonder, or pleasure – to gain an enthusiastic response from; or to thrill someone; also used to express wonder, amazement, or great pleasure; to describe something or someone as an outstanding success.
There are lots of documented acronyms for WOW – some are: Words of Worth, World of Wonder, World of Wrestling, Wonders of Wildlife, Weight of Workout, Watch our Words, Whining old Women (lol), Wines of Washington, World of Work, and among the many others there is even Women of Wrestling – but the acronym I most prefer when I think of the ₩Ö₩ Factor of God is “Words of Wisdom” – it speaks of a greater wisdom than our weary hearts can muster up. It speaks of wisdom winning over doubt, wisdom winning over fear, wisdom winning over confusion, it even conquers another acronym of WOW = the Wall of Worry
Do you know the Wall of Worry? Sometimes it looms over you before you even get your little toe out of bed in the morning, and it can impact your thoughts way before your feet have impacted the carpet. This wall can collapse upon you, surrounding you in rubble long before your daily hot shower has had a chance to revive you. The wall of worry is a thief, it comes to steal, kill and destroy every Word of Wisdom that our awesome God speaks to us. We must silence it, or it will steal every opportunity for growth, victory, miracles, overcoming, giving, joy, peace, love, and faithfulness in our lives.
So back to my bench in the park.. .. .. there I was, quietly waiting as the Master whispered to my heart. He reminded me of all the wonderful things He has given me. He opened up my eyes to see the way He has led me, kept me, loved me, changed me, challenged me, provided for me, rescued me, created through me, beautified me, watched me, Fathered me – Saved me – Blessed me all of these years. Tears streamed from my eyes, as I remembered His absolute goodness to me. And as the warm tears slid from beneath my sunglasses, they glistened in the sunshine that shone on my face; reminding me that God has a bottle where He keeps all of our tears, and one day they will be transformed, just like us, into unending joy. One day.
But until that day, we live in a world that tries to steal the Words of Wisdom that He speaks. We need to let the ₩Ö₩ Factor of God overwhelm us with joy, and contentment. Let it whisk you off to a place where He reminds you of all He has, is and will do in your life. Come out from beneath the cold, chilly shadow of the wall of worry – choose not to live there any longer. Reach out to God and ask Him to lavish His Words of Wisdom upon you, in you, through you. The ₩Ö₩ Factor of God wants to change the way you do life, now and always.
As I left the park today, I walked home my usual favourite route by the river, but I walked differently – I walked with a smile – I walked knowing I had been impacted by the ₩Ö₩ Factor of God. And tomorrow, may He give me the strength to walk in an even deeper measure of its truth. May His Words of Wisdom be the ₩Ö₩ Factor that changes how you see Him, and how you do life
Go to the park.. .. .. be still.. .. .. God has something to say to you.
❤ God wants to ₩Ö₩ us, even in the small daily things ~ I want to give my life away for a cause and a mission greater than anything I have ever imagined or dreamed possible!!! I want to end my life with no regrets… I want to ‘Dream Big!’ ~ I want the ₩Ö₩ Factor, the touch of God!
❤☆★☆★☆❤ Just as I finished this blog piece, a wonderful lady in America (thanks Evangeline Gober), shared this stunning quote => Vance Havner said, “Come apart and rest a while, or you may just plain come apart!”