I woke up the other morning to a very interesting and unusual sound. I looked out to see a lot of rustling going on in the Dogwood tree just outside my window.
It’s a particularly fruitful season and our Dogwood tree is chock-full o’ berries. I noticed three voracious squirrels rummaging through the branches. Grabbing bunches of berries and then munching on the seeds inside, they left piles of shells on the ground below…and I mean piles!
Over the next few days, I would watch them intently every morning. I started to look forward to seeing them. Our tree had become their temporary breakfast diner! I would look for movement in the leaves to see where they were, and then marvel at their quick, acrobatic moves. They would scramble up and down the tree, eating to their hearts’ delight.
They mostly ate the “low-hanging fruit”. In this case, not necessarily low to the ground, but the berries that were on sturdier branches. Eventually, all that was left were bunches of berries on the far outreaches of the tree.
The next morning, I looked out to see a squirrel hanging precariously from a twig, upside down. Using its tail as an anchor and hanging on by its hind legs, it used its front paws to grab berries, crack them and nibble away at the seeds. Wow, talk about going out on a limb!
It made me think of Shirley MacLaine’s book, Out on a Limb. I remember reading that back in 1987, and it was life changing. The overriding theme of the book, and its namesake, is this statement: “to get to the fruit on a tree, you have to go out on a limb”.
While the squirrel took it literally, it made me wonder…with fruit as a metaphor for something that you’ve set your sights on, a goal…how far would I go to get to the fruit? What would inspire me to go out on a limb? As I thought about it, it gave me a new perspective on what it takes to achieve a goal. Here are five things that I learned from that little squirrel:
1) You must have a desire
2) You must take initiative
3) You must come up with creative solutions
4) There will be an element of risk involved
and last but not least…
5) Chances are, you will find yourself in some pretty awkward and uncomfortable positions.
But you never know until you try. Thank you, little squirrel!
Challenge for the week: What is your “fruit”?
The first step is just acknowledging what it is that you want. Do you have a dream or a goal that you’ve always wanted to achieve? Make a list, perhaps a bucket list. Why wait???
I work with clients to help them achieve their goals. By identifying what they want, dreaming big and really getting specific, I help encourage and inspire them to move forward. If you’re not sure where to start, the first thing I suggest is to get a journal. Just put pen to paper and write, “What is it that I really want? What is my heart’s desire?” Follow with a stream of consciousness. Don’t think about it, just write…and no censoring. Think about the squirrel and “go nuts!” See what comes out, it may surprise you!
And for your viewing pleasure, here are some videos of my neighborhood squirrels.
Disclaimer: If you are like Carrie Bradshaw in Sex in the City, and think that squirrels are just rats with cuter outfits, than you may not want to watch these!