More than two decades ago, I came across the phrase: “You can’t soar with the eagles if you’re hanging with the turkeys.”
At the time, I was a military pilot transitioning to civilian life, and this phrase seemed to resonate with me. Nobody wants to be a ‘turkey’ or be around ‘turkeys’. I wanted to find a way to ‘soar’ like an eagle (or any competent bird for that matter). But frankly, while I bought into the concept, back then I didn’t have the business experience to embody what ‘soaring’ meant or the guidance of an experienced coach to point me in the right direction.
Recently, I revisited this phrase to examine the concept and what we can learn from eagles. These large birds move by soaring—a phase of flying where they hold their wings outward and rarely flap – to save considerable energy. Instead of flapping, they use rising thermal air currents to move across the landscape and gain altitude and updrafts from hills and ridges to operate at a low level.
As a business leader, there are lessons to be learned from eagles. Often we spend too much time ‘flapping’, exerting enormous energy to keep in the air, yet not moving anywhere. This frenetic activity is mentally draining and leaves little capacity for perspective and decision-making.
Why not learn from the eagle? Take some time to relax and soar majestically in the ‘thermals’ of your business, saving your energy and remaining poised to act.
To me ‘soaring’ is a state of being. In sports terms, some athletes describe it as being in the ‘zone’. When you elect to ‘soar’ you are actively in the present, moving with purpose in an effortless way, and correcting on instincts. By soaring, you are going about your business with calmness and confidence, ready for whatever life throws at you.
The state of ‘soaring’ can be incredibly useful as a tool when you are undertaking a business merger, acquisition, or transformation.