For years now I have received a newsletter by Denise Hedges and Barbara Mercer. I just love the way they write, their topic matter, and the inspiration they provide. This past week they sent out their newsletter offering an article about geese and why they thrive. It seemed so appropriate for the solo practitioner, their journey, challenges faced and the power found in collaboration and support and community from fellow solos. Denise gave me permission to reprint the article on this blog. I hope you find it worthwhile.
Success Secrets…of Geese
Geese are a very successful species. So successful, in fact, that many people consider them a nuisance. Mostly because they eat up to five pounds of grass a day and produce a lot of, uh, fertilizer. They make an unholy mess wherever they go. And there are so many of them.
Fun fact, huh? Okay, maybe not so much.
But here are some interesting facts about geese that explain a lot about just why they’re so successful. It seems we can learn a lot from our feathered friends.
Do you know why they fly in a “V” formation? It has to do with enhancing efficiency and increasing the distance they can cover. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an updraft for the bird following behind. The “V” allows the flock to fly at least 70% farther than if each bird were flying on its own.
Geese are team players. They work together, and in doing so, they achieve feats that wouldn’t be remotely possible if they didn’t cooperate. Geese don’t try to go it alone.
Working together in a community and teaming up with others does the same thing for us.
Of course, if a goose falls out of the formation, it slows down and has to work like crazy to get back into formation and feel the uplift from the bird in front.
Lesson: Stay close to the people who lift you up … and fly with those who are headed in the same direction.
When the leader of the flock gets tired, he falls back into the formation and another goose steps up to take the lead.
Lesson: Don’t feel you have to do everything, even if you’re a leader in your organization, whether that’s your family or your business. Allow others to assist.
Geese look out for each other. If a goose becomes ill, gets shot, or otherwise falls out of formation, other geese follow the disabled goose down to the ground and stay with her to protect and support her until she’s well enough to join the flock again or until she dies, upon which they will join another formation to catch up to their flock.
The lesson is clear. Standing up for each other, supporting each other during the tough times, is not only the true sign of a friend and comrade, it’s an essential trait of any thriving culture or enterprise. One for all and all for one. It’s what makes families work. It’s what makes teams of all kinds work. Everyone is supported. No one gets left behind.
Independence is a wonderful thing. The ability to think and do for yourself is an invaluable asset. And so is our interdependence … the ability to interact successfully with others in ways that benefit everyone involved.
And finally, geese mate for life, looking out for each other no matter what, for a lifetime.
There’s a story I’ve never forgotten about a hunter who shot down a goose along a windy beach. As the goose lies dying, her mate comes down and nestles beside her, covering her with his wing in a way that seemed almost human in its tenderness and loving protectiveness.
The hunter was so affected by the sight and mortified by what he’d done that he just stood there in silence, his shoulders drooped. After a few minutes, overcome with emotion, he flung his shotgun in the water and walked away.
He never hunted again.
An unbreakable bond … what’s that worth, knowing that you’ll always have someone by your side no matter what happens?
Like I said, we can learn a lot from geese.