Are You A Bird or A Squirrel?

There are two ways to reach your objectives.  Like a squirrel or like a bird.  Each has advantages and each has disadvantages.  You will do better if you can see both methods.

Think of a tree as the set of all possible opportunities.

A squirrel reaches a point high in a tree by climbing from the bottom.  Each step towards the objective puts him in a more vulnerable space.  The branch is weaker as he goes further.  However, he can understand the new environment before he enters into it.  If there is a problem, he can retreat to a stronger place and approach in another way.

The bird on the other hand arrives in the new place without a clear idea of what that place may entail.  Her first stop is the target and that is the weakest place.  If she finds the environment to be hostile, she can fly away.  She retreats to weakness, albeit a place where a predator is unlikely to follow.

When a squirrel reaches his objective, he is likely to be in an acceptable place.  But, there are places he cannot reach and he cannot reach any place quickly.

The bird, on the other hand, can reach anyplace and reach it quickly, but not all the places are safe.

Birds need to learn to quit quick.  Squirrels need to learn patience and persistence.  You cannot teach a squirrel to be impulsive and you cannot teach a bird to climb a tree.  But as humans, we can see the value and the drawbacks to each approach.

A good partnership will have both kinds of people.  The partnership will work if each appreciates that there are more ways to do a thing than the one they are good at doing.

Take your squirrels bungee jumping and see if they find it exhilarating.

Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario.

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