The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), the US national bird, is the only eagle unique to North America.
Eagles are large, powerfully built birds of prey
Let’s look at some very interesting comparisons between the World Changing Leader and the Eagle. Some may surprise you…
10) Eagles sit at the top of the food chain. This makes them more vulnerable to toxic chemicals in the environment, since each link in the food chain tends to concentrate chemicals from the lower link.
As a leader, there are many dynamics at play when you are at “The Top”.
Zig Ziglar’s famous book, “See you at the Top” written some twenty five years ago wasn’t the first nor will it be the last to attract leaders globally with the focus of being at the top! But what does that mean? To be a leader is a huge responsibility. To whom much is given, much is certainly expected. When you rise up to significant leadership positions of a company or a team, you will have all eyes on you for stand-apart organizational and inspirational direction. However, I find that most leaders, myself included- are much harder on ourselves.
We set our own bar EXCEPTIONALLY (freakin) HIGH.
As we work with people, we find that we are deeply involved/invested in their professional bliss, and their challenges. But we also find ourselves in the midst of their personal ups and downs too. Leadership today isn’t a neatly compartmentalized system. Leaders come along side of the people looking to us for inspired direction, and we do not draw those Black and White lines in the sand. So- we as leaders find ourselves exposed. We are exposed to people’s tragedies, toxins and toils. A World Changing leader knows how to authentically help and direct, but not to metabolize and hang on to those toxins inwardly.
9) Eyesight – An eagle’s eye is at least four times as powerful and sharp as that of a person with perfect vision.
What is it like, to see clearly from miles and miles away- when others can only see in the short distance? World Changers must be able to not only grasp a vision that inspires themselves, but they must be able to articulate that vision outward, and enroll others successfully into that picture.
8) Eagles do not sweat, so they use many other creative cool-down methods.
I know- Leaders DO sweat. 🙂
BUT World Changing Leaders don’t show it. Today’s leader knows when to be vulnerable. To be authentic and real in a country where we have a lot of uber superficiality that is promoted- isn’t easy. *I am a big fan of the Leader that understands the necessity and timing of intentional Vulnerability.
That said, our teams and companies do not need to see us sweat, ie; panic, freak out, over-react, project frustration onto them, or make irrational accusations or decisions. We have all seen leadership like that, be they owners, managers, team leaders or (gulp) the government. What our teams DO need to see from us, is our intentional cool/calm down methods, and come back to them clear, grounded, inspired and ready to continue partnering with them to get through the eye of any storm, together.
7) Eagles tolerate VERY cold temperatures. A bald eagle’s skin is protected by feathers lined with down. Their feet are cold resistant.
Leaders can take subzero temperatures.
Economy turns. Employee challenges. Stiff Competition. Cultural Apathy. The most difficult decisions. High Stakes meetings. Pressure. Extreme COLD and extreme HEAT.
Simon Cowell, creator of American Idol, once told Oprah Winfrey “I have to be that tough on the contestants. If they cannot handle me, my feedback and challenging them, they are no where near ready to face Hollywood and the cold hard press.” How very true. Likewise, if you are too sensitive and defensive, taking everything personally, you will never make it long term as a manager or Entrepreneur. It will destroy you. Not everyone is cut out for the pressure. We all have different, amazing gifts. That is the beautiful thing.
6) Beak. A Bald Eagle’s beak is a strong weapon, but is also delicate enough to groom a mate’s feathers or feed a small portion of food to a newly hatched chick. The beak of a captive eagle is not worn down naturally, so it must be trimmed annually.
I think this is a great metaphor for our powerful voice as a leader.
Leaders do well when they are passionate, eloquent, profound, and phenomenal speakers; from the large crowds to an intimate one on one. Our words have the power to heal, help, and honor. Our words can also wound, tear, and destroy. We must be vigilant to be truly responsible for what we say. Are our words valuable, helpful, wise and thought out? If not, trim back the beak! Get a Life and Leadership Mastery Coach to objectively help. And remember, an “I’m sorry” from a leader is powerful- when it’s authentic. We all screw things up sometimes. World Changers own their mistakes.
5) Talons. Eagles can open and close their talons at will. If an eagle is dragged into the water by a fish too large for the eagle to lift, it is because the eagle refuses to release it. In some cases this is due to hunger.
My friend and mentor Les Brown says “You’ve got to be HUNGRY!”
Hungry IS good. But, scarcity; emotionally, physically, financially, or spiritually for too long- isn’t good. When the fish is too big, or you are not ready, drop it before YOU go completely under. There was a time many years ago that after economic turns, competitive pressures, and a bogus former employee law suit all came into play… I realized that a business I had started, also needed to come to a close. It wasn’t easy at that time. I had prepared for the GO GO GO do do do! I had not realized that some dreams are for a time, and they are meant to end too. Those are the lessons, and our teachers, and they are for a time. It’s OK. If a business, relationship, habit, behavior, addiction, job, or whatever is dragging you under, please- don’t go down with the Titanic. Open your talons and let go! Create the space in your hands and heart for the magnificent fish that is coming, that is the perfect one for RIGHT NOW.
4) Most Birds of Prey look back over their shoulder before they move forward in a hunt. Not Eagles.
Some look back. Don’t.
In my favorite book it says: “Forgetting what is behind, and reaching forth unto what lies ahead. I press on towards the goal!” Phil 3:13.
We cannot actually forget the past. But we can absolutely learn from it, move on from it, and put our energy into this very moment and beyond. That is what future achievements are made up of… starting right NOW. It’s about this moment. Let us begin.
3) Eagles Glide.
With a massive wingspan of up to eight feet, their wings victoriously spread out wide.
To help them soar, eagles use thermals which are rising currents of warm air. Soaring or gliding is accomplished with minimal wing-flapping, enabling them to conserve precious energy. Long-distance flights are accomplished by climbing high in a thermal, then gliding downward to catch the next thermal. Their wings are strong but heavy, so this is a VITAL part of the survival mechanism of the Eagle. Eagles are considered master fliers. They can fly to heights that no other bird can. They have been seen flying as high as some of our airplanes fly.
Several eagles soaring in a thermal together is described as a “Kettle of Eagles.”
So World Changers… jump off that cliff. You were born to. You were trained and educated to. You must! Find the warm winds. Use your powerful wings. But also remember to glide, rest, meditate, and lean on your amazing team. Don’t pump those huge wings all the time! You don’t need too, and you may burn out. Soar when you can. You will need that energy later.
2) Though eagles mate for life, they often fly alone.
World Changing Leaders are loyal. We care about relationships and have learned how to succeed in them. Our families are very important to us.
There are days when leaders feel alone. Make sure that when you need help- you reach out for it. Find a “Kettle of Eagles” to fly in; a mastermind group, a Master Life Coach, a small group that you can be supported by, collaborate and laugh with. World changers do not have to do it all alone.
1) Eagles Live on Higher Ground.Don’t ever sell out!
World Changers are honest. They are compassionate. They give. They give when no one knows they are giving. They don’t create followers, they help support other emerging leaders! They take the high road, the road much less traveled. And that WILL make all the difference. World Changers live on Higher Ground.