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Are you an Eagle or a Jellyfish?

Alan Andersen

Every summer, our family camps at Bucks Lake, where I enjoy a week of watching the eagles perch, fly, and hunt. I love the way their beady little eyes go back and forth, searching, scanning until they see it, then the eyes become intensely focused. (No doubt where the term “eagle eye” came from!)

Leaders need clarity on who they are (values), where they are going (vision) and how they will get there (mission). There are folks who search for meaning with great energy but don’t allow for moments of silence to reflect and focus. Without that clarity, they never really see what truly matters.

How this has anything to do with jellyfish, well, you need to read this excerpt from my new book and figure it out.

Week 1 from Clarity

Have you ever been frustrated by people whose lives seem so smooth and easy, while you are working diligently only to encounter trial after trial?

When I was fresh out of college, I posed that question to my wise mentor. Answering my jealousy over the easy life of my peers, he explained that there are two types of people: jellyfish and eagles. Building upon his words, I have used this analogy throughout the years to encourage greatness in others.

Consider the jellyfish. Sure, it gets blown and tossed by the tide of the sea, but basically it just floats along. It lives on what comes its way. There’s not too much conflict, and no need for adventure. Just enough movement to stay with the current until it dies.

There may be a few exceptional jellyfish that stand out, but a jellyfish is a jellyfish – content blobs existing in the sea. For a jellyfish, there is nothing wrong with that. Nothing else is expected of a jellyfish.

 

Now consider the eagle. Food doesn’t just come bobbing by for the eagle – it has to go get it. Have you ever watched how many times an eagle will dive for its dinner? Relentless! For goodness sakes, on the first day of flight school, the baby eagle gets dropped out of the nest!

While they have an incredible view from the top of the world, they often perch alone because of their choice for higher living. The trials and difficulties of the eagle are what breed the character we admire: courage, vigor, and freedom. Nothing is abnormal about the challenging adventure they live – that’s an eagle’s life. Nothing less should be expected.

Unlike the animal kingdom, humans have a choice in how they want to live and who they want to be. You choose your attitude and your behavior. It doesn’t matter if jellyfish parents raised you; you can learn to be an eagle. I’ve seen organizations with jellyfish CEOs and eagle janitors. It’s not your position; it’s your attitude.

The challenge is when you naively see yourself soaring like an eagle, but you are blind to your jellyfish lifestyle. Anyone can be an eagle, but you must commit to pay the personal cost of higher living and consistent integrity. Choose today to find higher ground and learn the way of an eagle.

Your Coach,


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