Ducks or Eagles?

You can’t send your ducks to Eagle School!
– Jim Rohn

My core values (thankfully) compel me to refrain from judging others, but I do miss the mark occasionally. However, I believe that it is entirely appropriate to judge someone’s behavior, versus judging “the person.” We have all engaged in stupid behavior, and have made poor choices, but it’s unacceptable to label someone stupid because of a stupid misstep. Sadly though, there are those unfortunate souls who habitually engage in behavior that is entirely disempowering, which not only impacts them negatively but also impacts others in a harmful way. In other words, many people have chosen to consistently behave like ducks and steadfastly refuse to entertain the thought of enrolling in Eagle School.

I have noticed that even the most solid of business leaders often experience a great deal of distress because someone under their tutelage is not only underperforming but is also causing the entire organization to struggle; one bad apple can surely spoil the whole bunch! And the reason why these good men and women grapple with letting someone go is because they have integrity – they understand that people have families to feed, and electric bills to pay. But there exists a very fine line between “enabling” someone and helping him/her. There are times when it’s in the best interests of the organization to cut someone loose. Paradoxically, this move is also in the best interests of the person who is being let go!

With full transparency, I struggled with this issue mightily in the past. I would give someone who was utterly committed to behaving like a duck, far too many “second chances.” I finally came to realize that I could never persuade a duck to attend Eagle School, no matter how desperately I tried, and that attempting to force an outcome in this wheelhouse was destined for abysmal failure.

I am convinced that every person on this planet has been given the choice to quack with the ducks or fly with the Eagles. And attempting to teach someone to soar, who is hell-bent on quacking, is a zero-sum game.

 Have I fully embraced the fact that we can’t force our ducks to attend Eagle School?

© John G. 2021

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