If you were an animal, which one would you be and why?
This is a common icebreaker used at conferences and workshops.
The facilitator or speaker asks each person to reveal their animal, and sometimes they ask the participants to demonstrate the animal.
As minds race through the Encyclopedia Britannica on every animal known to man, my mind always goes back to the eagle.
My spirit animal is most definitely the eagle, but not for the reasons that might immediately come to mind. It's not because eagles are majestic. It's not because eagles are seemingly free spirits soaring above the trees. It's because they recognize and respect the timing of things. When it's time to fly, when it's to to rest, when it's time to build, when it's time to nurture and when it's time to stir things up.
Eagles certainly demonstrate their command of the sky and all other fowl of the air respect their space. Humans respect their prowess and regal pose, as well.
However, I most admire their ability to nurture and protect their eaglets. And, when the time is right, the eagle quietly begins to use its prawns to stir the nest.
This makes it very uncomfortable for the little eaglets to relax and rest. Every time they try to rest on their laurels, a sharp stick pokes them into the upright position. It tells them that the nest is no longer made for them. It's time for them to fly off and make their own nest.
Sometimes, we get so comfortable with life that we just lean back and don't feel the need to push ourselves.
Don't misunderstand, there's nothing wrong with being content and happy. Just don't confuse apathy for contentment or happiness for laziness.
Stir your nest. Stretch yourself and dream bigger than you have before. When you begin to doubt that you can do something challenging, repeat to yourself, "I can do hard things."
Not only do I stir my nest to challenge myself, I stir the nest to challenge my staff, my friends, my now adult children, nieces and nephew.
When you experience the freedom and power of flying, you want to share that feeling with others. The only way to do that is to act and think like an eagle and stir the nest.