By Tom O'Neil
A little while ago I had the opportunity to see a small goal of mine fail completely.
Three years ago my wife, two boys (aged 4 and 6) and I moved to a farm just outside New Zealand's largest city Auckland. On arriving in our new country paradise, my wife convinced the family to get four hens so we could have fresh eggs every day. All went well for a number of months, and we had fried eggs, poached eggs, scrambled eggs and omelettes very regularly for a limited investment in chicken feed.
However one day Sarah went out to the Chicken coup and discovered that my hen ‘Henny' (yes we named them all) had died overnight. All was sad in the household, however Sarah and I thought it would be a great opportunity to demonstrate to the boys about the circle of life and death.
‘Lets have a funeral ‘ I stated and went off to dig a grave for our beloved former pet and egg manufacturer. After 10 minutes of digging, all was ready.
Sarah led the boys along the path to where Henny's grave lay, with Tim (the oldest) holding the hen by its feet. We gathered around the grave and the boys, Sarah and I said a prayer each, thanking the Lord for the short but enjoyable time with had with our chicken. At the signal, I instructed Tim to drop the Henny into the grave, however as he did so, it slipped from his hands and landed on the bottom of the grave feet first, staring back up at us like it was alive.
While this was quite unnerving, the best was yet to come. I thought the easiest way to lay Henny on her side was to prod her a bit with my spade. However as I shifted her over, the blade of the spade caught underneath her wing, and compressed her lungs, forcing the chickens last breath back through her vocal chords.
"Brrrooork" the dead chicken squawked!
There was silence for a second or two then the sound of screaming children and heavy running as they scampered from the seemingly undead zombie chicken.
A few minutes later Sarah and I managed to find the boys and bring them back to the site to finish the ceremony, convincing them that Henny really was actually dead.
Later on I reflected about this event in line with my speciality as a goals expert and three things came to mind about when your goals don't go quite according to plan...
- If other people don't share your vision or outcome of the goal you set, they may not complete their tasks quite to the standard you would have done. Had I put the hen in the grave myself, all would have gone according to plan. Therefore remember to have the key elements of your goal under your direct control if possible. If you can't do this, try and get the other people involved to share your passion for achieving this task. This may also involve including them in some of the payoff at the end.
- Things don't always go according to plan... How hard is it to bury a chicken for example? When things get in the road of achieving our goals (for example a change in your financial situation, sickness of you or a loved one, the loss of your job), stop and take some time out to set up some contingency plans and readjust your goal timeframes if necessary. Things will always get in the way of us achieving the goals we set, and the bigger the goal, the higher the chance it will be disrupted by ‘life' in some way.
- Have a sense of humour. The boys ran off in fear and Sarah and I just stared at each other in shock. Life's full of zombie chicken moments, and we can choose to freak out, get angry or just look at each other, smile and try to find the funny side.
Remember keep moving forward, and watch out for those zombie chickens.