Probably the single most impressive quality of the eagle is the bird’s remarkable ability to renew his youth. There comes a time in the life of every eagle when he is somewhat slower in flight. Indeed the wing feathers begin to give off a tell-tale whistle as the bird dives at his pray. Often the whistle of the wings is enough to warn a rabbit or fish and enables it to dodge the attack. Besides problems with his feathers, the eagle may also find that his talons are blunt and that calcification has formed on his beak. It seems as if the king of the sky is ready for the old folks’ home. Yet, at this critical stage of the eagle’s life, he flies to the high country, up close to the sun.
High up in the mountains the eagle proceeds to go through a remarkable process of rejuvenation. He starts to pluck at his wing feathers and one by one the faulty feathers are cast off. His first action is to get rid of the problem. One report told of a particular variety of eagle who stripped himself completely bald and waited some forty days for a complete regrowth of feathers. Next the bird may seek out a cool refreshing mountain stream to wash himself.
Eagles are very clean birds in their natural state. The icy waters remove the taint and stain of death, the lice and parasites, the old and dull feathers, and the muck and filth of the world. Fresh, clean and naked, the eagle stands in the sun.
While awaiting the regrowth of his flight feathers, the eagle does something about his dull beak and blunt talons. Like a soldier preparing his sword for battle, the calcification are painstakingly ground away by the slow but steady action for the beak against the rock. Likewise his talons may also be sharpened or removed altogether. Relentlessly the beak and talons are methodically honed back to lethal sharpness, ready for the world. Eventually after many days of preening, plucking, honing, grinding and washing, the eagle is ready to return to the outside world. He spreads his huge wings and alights from the mountain peaks a new bird. Again he is a powerful, dangerous bird to contend with.
A great thank you to Dr. David Molapo for this beautiful and insightful comparison in his book: “Lessons from eagles – If you are not growing you are dying” Although Dr. Molapo intended to compare the eagle’s renewal to the renewal of our personal lives, I could also see a distinct comparison to what is happening in our businesses.
Maybe your business has hit the ceiling or levelled out on a plateau, now is the time for renewal. Just like the eagle can be transformed, we can also transform our businesses. Get rid of the old ways and ideas. Remove those things creating obstacles. Clean out the house! Then refine those systems that are still applicable and put new fresh ideas into practise.