I run a coaching company called Frame of Mind Coaching™ — I’ve been doing it for 16 years. I work with the most challenging type of client — the smart ones who are independent, opinionated leaders, driven to achieve massive goals.
I look at how they think and help them align that thinking with their deepest desires. I ask them to share their most personal thoughts and reflections in a web-based journaling platform that I developed. I invite them to go deep and lead them through a personal transformation. I even teach this process to other individuals who want to learn how to coach powerfully. By all accounts, I am considered ‘evolved’.
But maybe not so much…
As a result of COVID I have learned to enjoy spending time outside, gardening, planting vegetables, listening to the sounds of nature, taking pleasure in the sun, the breeze, and even the cooling temperatures of late. I have especially enjoyed the variety of birds that have spent the summer in our yard, visiting regularly, sitting on the top of the fence or a tree branch, chirping away.
I like birds. They feel spiritual somehow. Perhaps I feel this way because I was once told that birds carry the soul of those who have passed, and when they visit, they are checking in on you, hanging out and letting you know that you are not alone.
Whenever I see birds near me, I think of my parents who have both passed in the last few years. Birds bring me comfort.
I wanted to do a good thing and had been thinking about it for a while: I wanted to buy a bird feeder so that the birds — whoever they were — would always have food to eat. I went to Lowes and found a variety of feeders. I picked one and then actually returned it to get the bigger, brighter, more accessible feeder before leaving the store. I bought a big package of bird food too. I was excited to bring it home and set it up in our cherry tree in the back yard.
The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions
I filled the bird feeder to the top and hung it on a branch on the tree. Nothing happened for three days. There were no birds and there was no chirping, leaving the bird feeder full the entire time. On day four I noticed that the bird feeder was starting to empty. I got excited… I figured the birds were showing up when I was not looking.
I could not have been more wrong.
Instead of feeding the birds, my bird feeder had become ‘party central’ for a family of squirrels.
WHAT???? I don’t want to feed squirrels!!! GO AWAY!!!
I tried scaring them, and even moved the feeder, but they came back, hanging upside down by their tails to access the bird seed.
I tried blasting music, but apparently they like my taste in music, and more of them came.
They started chasing each other in the tree and squeaking. Who knew that squirrels squeak?
If you ever want to hear what a squirrel sounds like check this out…
They were a little hostile, a little intimidating, and they were growing in numbers.
I started to feel a little nervous about the squirrels and googled “Do I need a rabies shot if I get bitten by a squirrel?”
What had I done? My good intentions were not leading to the outcome I was hoping for. I hated the squirrels.
Leveraging My Mistake
I was unquestionably rattled by the squirrels, but being who I am and doing what I do for a living, I thought about writing an article about this experience. There had to be a benefit to this experience — some kind of takeaway that I could share. The only problem was… what was the story line? What was the message? What was the point of this article? I drew a blank.
I asked my kids…
Jonathan suggested that I write about how some people are like squirrels — they are resourceful and find what they need, even if it’s not intended for them.
Interesting idea… but I didn’t feel like promoting the resourcefulness of squirrels.
Ferne suggested I talk about timing and how I put out birdseed at a time in the season when birds typically get ready to fly south and had I done it earlier in the season, more birds would have come.
Good marketing lesson… but again, it wasn’t truly resonating for me.
Seeing the Light
Then this morning, I received an email from Eckhart Tolle. The subject line was “Present Moment Reminders.” Oddly, it was a picture of a bird, with the following quote…
Love the squirrel as myself??? Are you kidding me???
At that moment it hit me…
I’m just not there yet. I am not nearly as evolved as I thought I was.
AND THAT’S OK.
As a coach who helps others get to a greater place of peace, ease, exhilaration, and joy, I am also quite human and need to continuously push myself to grow, to learn, to find ways to be at peace with all the parts of the world that are not exactly how I want them to be. That includes squirrels.
So from now on, while birds might trigger my spiritual side and connect me to people I have loved and lost, squirrels remind me that I am human and am on a never-ending journey of growth and evolution, and that I still have quite a distance to go!
Feel free to comment with your stories of continuous growth and evolution!