Recently I was away for a weekend business retreat. One of the first things we did was start to filling in the blank in the following statement: “I am no longer waiting for [ __________________ ].” This was up on a big flipchart at the front of the room, and we took turns handing off the markers as we added our answers. Answers included “permission,” “my family to ‘get’ me,” “for everything to be perfect.” (I shared video of that list on Instagram right here, if you want to check it out.) The impact of this exercise was HUGE. Suddenly there we all were, staring at four pages of all of the thoughts in our heads that block us from taking action on the things we most want in our business and in our lives.
It. Was. Awesome.
And then came a writing exercise. The room went quiet as we all turned inward to consider the question we’d been asked and formulate our answers.
In that moment I became very aware that there was a parrot next door. A parrot who’d been screaming out its raucous parrot-cry throughout the morning, for hours already. I’d been aware of it but not really paying attention given everything else happening in the room.
And then the room went quiet.
And punctuating that quiet, in no kind of rhythm or pattern, that parrot.
Immediately I was ❌💯 distracted, checked out completely from the engagement, the flow that had been in the room just minutes before, totally zoned out on that bird’s sounds. A cavalcade of questions rolled through my head -- I wonder what kind of parrot is it? What color do you think its feathers are? Is it one of those blue ones? If I snuck into their yard, could I maybe find some? And, over and over again, with increasing speed, what would be it be like to live with all that noise, that screech that had no tempo, that just happened irregularly whenever that damn bird felt like it?
Damn it, that sound is driving me crazy. What the hell? Why’s that bird gotta just screech like that all day?
And then BOOM.
You know what’s great about that parrot? It has no stories in its head. Zero. It has no little voices telling it, you can’t make that much noise, take up that much space, maybe you should tone it down, ‘cause you know that parrot over there, s/he has been at this longer and sounds so much better.
Nope, that parrot is just over there, next door, doing parrot stuff. It is giving no shits about the business retreat next door. None.
And I thought, circling back to the exercise we had just been so involved in, what if i, what if we, could just be like that parrot, un-self-consciously just making our sounds, just doing parrot stuff?
No stories. No thoughts blocking us from taking action.
Just do parrot stuff.
What’s your song, gorgeous bird? SING IT.