A Duck Or an Eagle, What Will I Be Today?

I read something today that simultaneously inspired and educated me. Whilst reading it, I was able to relate much of it to how I went about my daily life in my job as a corporate leader.  

It was a story about a cab driver in the USA and written by one of his passengers who was so blown away by the actions of this one cab driver that at the end of the ride, he made an immediate decision that he would effect immediate change in both his thoughts and behaviour.  

He was waiting in line for a cab and as this immaculate cab drew up, the door opened and out stepped a driver dressed in immaculate white shirt, black tie and trousers with razor sharp creases in them. The driver rushed to open the back door and in doing so handed the passenger a car that read; “I’m Wally, your driver. While I’m loading your bags in the trunk, I’d like you to read my mission statement.”   

Wally’s Mission Statement:To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest, and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment.  

This totally blew the passenger away and even more so that on entering the cab, the pristine condition inside matched that of the exterior. Once behind the wheel, Wally said “would you like a coffee, I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf”. The passenger jokingly said “no, I’d actually prefer a soft drink”. Wally’s reply to this was “no problem, I have a cooler here with regular and Diet Coke, water and orange juice”.  

As they were about to set off, Wally offered a choice of daily newspapers and handing the passenger another laminated card, he was pleasantly surprised to read about the various music stations available and the music each played.  

Setting off, the passenger was informed of the best route to his destination considering the time of day and a further offer to show the sights or leave him to his own thoughts if this was preferred.  

Obviously a number of questions were now in the passengers head and on asking Wally how long he had been in business and how his business had evolved, he was informed that Wally had been a regular cab driver like all the others for about 5 years. He said he spent his time complaining like most of the cab drivers do then one day happened to listen to a personal growth guru called Wayne Dyer on the radio. Liking what he heard, he purchased one of Wayne’ books. The real message Wally said he took from this was ‘Stop complaining! Differentiate yourself from your competition. Don’t be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain, eagles soar above the crowd.’ He went on to tell the passenger that he looked around at other cabs; they were dirty, drivers unfriendly and customers generally unhappy. He immediately began to put in changes and as the customers responded well, he put in some more.  

I related to much of this story as I read it and above is only a short excerpt. In my place of work and being a leader, I love to innovate, get the team on board and make things happen. I used to get frustrated by senior management’s reluctance to make decisions, move things forward and generally suppressing innovation. One of my favourite thoughts was “how can I soar with the eagles when I’m tied to the turkeys.” So I suppose it was the eagle analogy that caught my eye in this article I’m writing about today.  

Once I mastered the rules of the business in my organisation, I adopted the philosophy ‘it’s best to just do it and beg forgiveness later than to ask and be refused.’ If my gut instinct tells me I need to do something, change something then I just do it. It has not let me down; to the contrary, I have won accolades and also an award for leadership, innovation and producing results. I always recruited like minded people and we constantly sought out new and better ways of delivering to our customers, to our stakeholders and to ourselves. I quickly recognised my eagles and constantly fed their hunger.  

So are you a duck or are you an eagle? Do you spend your day complaining, whining and generally stalling? Do you seek out like minded ducks that wallow with you in procrastination? Do you like to have long conversations that have a basic theme running through them i.e. ‘100 reasons why we can’t do this.’  

Or are you an eagle? Are you constantly seeking out new and better ways of developing your life and business? Do you surround yourself with positive and like minded achievers? Do you just go for it, make lots of mistakes, laugh at them and continue to learn and grow?  

Ducks, you don’t have to sit around in the water then, every now and then giving a wee kick with your webbed feet under water. Start flapping your wings, raise yourself up a wee bit at a time, and move away from all the others who are content to sit there. Look up at the birds in the sky; aren’t they having fun seeing how high they can really fly? Ducking and diving, trying new heights a small distance at a time. Try it, you may find a whole bunch of people who see much more from where they are; learn something new every minute of the day. Move away from your fellow ducks who sit there, reliant on people bringing bits of bread or food to them, get out there and seek your own, you can then eat anything you want because you’ve made it happen. Don’t rely on others, it’s far more rewarding when you’ve learnt something for yourself and the rewards are then all yours.