Why You Need to Imitate Eagles & Avoid The Ducks!


Just make sure that you are not distracted by the squirrels!

At the beginning of last week, I met up with seven people in West Palm Beach prior to the start of the John Maxwell Team certification program. What started off with a simple agreement to go out for lunch, ended in a strong friendship based on similar values and shared visions.

The group spanned the North Americas, Europe and Australasia. Yet the diversity of the group did not diminish the passion or the message that we delivered.

Don't let distractions get in the way...

If you have seen the animated film “Up”, you would be familiar with the main characters – Carl Fredericksen & Russell. Carl is an older gentleman who, as a young boy dreams of being an adventurer as he watches newsreel footage of explorer Charles Muntz. But Carl fails to take into consideration the persistent presence of an overly helpful Wilderness Explorer scout named Russell.

As part of their adventure they meet up with a super friendly dog named Dug (not Doug). Dug's wearing a fancy collar that allows his thoughts to be translated into English. Dug's mind works about how you'd expect a canine's thought process to, with lots of happy thoughts interrupted often by shouts of "Squirrel!!"

The difference between eagles and ducks...

They say that eagles are determined and focused birds. Ducks on the other hand, tend to be distracted. I encourage you to behave like an eagle. They think differently from the ducks. So take the time to think big; think abundance & think continually!

So, the next time you find yourself sitting beside a quacking duck, here are 5 simple leadership lessons to use which will help you to stay on track, maximise your potential and lift yourself to the next level:

1. The Law of the Lid...

Sometimes, there are things that we do or thoughts that we have that can hold us back. Take the time to review the things that hold you back and put in place alternative strategies to help you lift the lid on your capabilities. Check your self-talk and choose positive words and affirmations. Say things in a positive fashion, like, “I’ll remember to...,” as opposed to the negative of “Don’t forget to...” And take the time to positively reinforce your capability. For example, when I was growing up, I was constantly told that I was an idiot, which led me to behave like one! Now, on a daily basis I have to remind myself that I’m made in the image of God (the Grand Overall Designer) and if He can create the wonders of the landscape that surrounds me, then I can’t be that much of an idiot!

2. The Law of Connection...

You have to touch a heart, before you can ask for a hand. Take the extra time to find out more about your co-workers and your customers. Instead of rushing around, filling your world up with task-based activities, take the time to walk slowly through the crowd. As John Maxwell asks in his Minute with Maxwell video, are we interesting and connecting with other people? Take time to find out more about them and their family, their dreams and their aspirations. Because they don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.


3. The Law of the Inner Circle...

It is said that your net worth is determined by the average net-worth of the 5 people that you spend most of your time with. So, take stock of the people that you hang around with and determine whether you should be choosing an alternative inner circle? I’m proud to now be associated with a new group that started out as a “lunch bunch” that have been transformed into my inner circle.

4. The Law of the Addition...

Add value to people that you interact act with. You can do that by starting your day with the following question, “Who can I help today?” The highest form of leadership is servant-hood leadership. Find as many opportunities to serve others. If you have read Gary Chapman’s book 'The 5 Love Languages', it may be as simple as making a coffee for the “acts of service” person or spending focused & uninterrupted time with a “quality time” person. Either way, when you add value to them, you help them increase their influence and you can increase your leadership.

5. The Law of the Big Mo...

In business, momentum is your best friend. When you get a head of steam raised, you want to make sure that you can maintain your enthusiasm and capitalise your productivity. Lean on the energy of your inner circle and use their enthusiasm to help you achieve more. As we also found out at the John Maxwell Team, when the energy in the room seemed to dip, the facilitator would call out the name of the newest faculty member – Ed da Costa – and this would be met with a resounding set of applause and cheers.

So, the next time you hear somebody say, “Squirrel!!”, remember to shout out “Ed da Costa!!”


Elias Kanaris is an expert in lifting the lid on leadership by focussing on ethical business practice.

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