Over Thanksgiving weekend, I received one hen and four 5-week-old chicks. We put them in the run (which has been secured to keep the chickens from flying out), and the chicks immediately escaped the run through the chain link fence. As we ran around the field trying to get the chicks back, I really considered giving up on this whole chicken mama thing. But with some patience, we were able to get all the chicks and the hen back in the coop. Then I added chicken wire to the chain link fencing.
It has been fun to actually see chickens living in my coop.
As my husband pointed out, this (1 day) is the longest any chicken has resided in my coop or run. Once they get settled in, we will add some more laying chickens and a rooster for safekeeping. According to my chicken coach, the one remaining chicken who hangs out with my neighbor’s horses and goats may return once she hears the cackle of the rooster.
I’ve really tried not to repeat any of the mistakes I made last time, so that I can finally enjoy having chickens and fresh eggs. And it has been helpful to review the advice from readers of my earlier posts, read more chicken books and seek out additional knowledge. While success with the chickens isn’t life or death for me, it is something that I would really like to accomplish.
Similarly, I know that many business owners would like to be successful in the ever-changing world of COVID —except in this case, it is life or death. Businesses are struggling to keep their employees safe and protect the customers while continuing to operate and be profitable. Many companies, especially manufacturers, have had to start and stop production when they have had COVID cases within the workforce. One local company has had to stop shipping product for at least one day every two weeks for the past two months. That is a lot of lost revenue and increased labor costs.
In order to stay on top of all the changes, businesses need to anticipate issues and take proactive steps in order to avoid shutdowns, production delays and customer shortages. But it is hard to be proactive when you feel you can’t do anything but react. If the leadership team is clear on the direction of the organization and the path to get there, though, they can prioritize the issues and take steps to resolve them.
If you feel that your organization has become more reactive and less proactive, you can take steps now to regain control. It may feel like you don’t have time, but if you don’t do something different, the reactive cycle will continue to repeat.
The great news is that I can introduce you to some tools that can help you put yourself back in the driver’s seat. Let’s talk today and I’ll help you regain control over your business.
I saw my former chicken yesterday. She was hanging out with my neighbor’s goats and horses. Seeing her made me reminisce about the times when she would come lay eggs in my beautiful chicken coop. Oh, those were the good ol’ days.
So, those of you who are wondering – it’s true, I have no chickens left. Of the five I started out with, only one is still alive and she has left me for greener pastures. I haven’t found a single egg in any of my nesting boxes since late July. I have no idea what happened, but I went from getting 11 eggs in one week to getting none.
Where did I go wrong?
A question I’ve asked myself frequently over the past five months. I think what happened is that I was so caught up in building my coop that I failed to consider some important details that would have made things much easier and more fruitful.
One of those important details is that chickens can fly, and if you don’t want them to leave, you have to either clip their wings or make it so they can’t fly the coop.
I guess you could say that my first try at being a chicken mama was a failure.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this and have decided I need a chicken coach. Think about it: athletes have coaches, business owners have coaches, why shouldn’t an aspiring chicken mama have a coach?
Most people are afraid to admit that they need an outside perspective in order to achieve their goals. While many will eventually reach their goals, working with a coach helps achieve those goals faster.
That is one of the things I enjoy about working with my clients. I help them reach their goals faster. Whether your goal is to grow your business, work less, make more money, or have more fun at work – I can help you.
You can’t coach yourself from within. Or, in my case, you can’t coach yourself from inside the chicken coop.
If you are trying to reach your business or personal goals, I’d love to help you reach them faster and maybe have a little fun along the way.
I’m ready to achieve my chicken goals. Are you ready to achieve your goals?
If so, let’s find some time to connect.
A few weeks ago, I was lamenting that our plans to climb South Sister in July were cancelled. This is the first summer in six years that l’m not training for some adventure. I’ve completed Hood to Coast and Cycle Oregon, climbed Mt. St. Helens and trained for the Camino Frances. But, due to COVID-19, I found myself adventure-free this summer. I’m sure this fact was on my mind when I was scrolling through Facebook and saw that a good friend of mine was competing in a local “virtual” triathlon. Without hesitation, I agreed to do it with her. Of course, the fact that I hadn’t swum in over 10 years, biked in nearly two years, or run in six months seemed to have escaped my memory. (I do think the adult libation I was enjoying at the time might have been partly responsible.)
The next morning I realized the foolishness of my idea. I did commit to my friend, but there was another reason I didn’t back out. At the recommendation of another friend and colleague, I started reading Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. While this book has amazing application to business and leadership, the chapter about checking your ego and trying something you might fail at really resonated with me. I know intellectually that in order to reach my full potential, I have to go beyond my comfort zone. But applying this truth in my life isn’t something I embrace at the frequency that I should.
So, I dug out my running shoes, dusted off my bike, and headed down to the lake with a few butterflies in my stomach.
It felt so great to swim in the open water. The biking was great until the rain started. But we persevered and finished with a wet 3-mile run.
In the end, I was rewarded by meeting some great people, talking shop with another business owner, and pushing my body in a way I hadn’t done in quite some time.
Trying something at which you might fail doesn’t just apply to sports. It is also necessary to see growth in your business, your career path or your relationships with others. In a recent engagement with a mid-market company, the CEO realized that a key employee wasn’t performing at the level required in order to ensure successful implementation of the company’s turnaround plan. His initial response was to ignore the problem. But, as the Board pointed out, this approach had gotten the company into the current situation. So, now, he had to make a choice: fire her, redeploy her or invest in her development. He chose to invest in the employee and brought me in to coach the key employee. The end result was a more engaged employee, $125,000 in annualized profitability increase and praise from the Board.
Another client was in the process of assuming control of the company from her father. The transition plan had been agreed to by all parties, but when it came to implement the plan, her father refused to follow the plan. Imagine the stress, on both sides. If this wasn’t handled appropriately, the end result could be the degradation of the father/daughter relationship and instability in the company resulting in reduced business valuation. I coached the daughter on how to address the situation, encouraging her to find the third solution, that elusive solution that we often overlook. As we talked, she realized that while the transition plan was solid, her tactics needed to be modified. She changed her stance, softened her approach and her father responded. The transition was completed, the company was strengthened and the father/daughter relationship was preserved.
If you find that you are stagnating in business or personally, it may be time to push yourself. This means searching for solutions which don’t initially seem apparent, trying ideas that may seem unreachable or being open to feedback from previously unwelcome sources. If you aren’t sure where to start, let’s connect. One thing I’ve learned from my years in sports and business is that accountability is the driving force behind reaching one’s full potential.
As you probably know, I inherited five chickens last month, two hens and three chicks. It wasn’t long before they all successfully flew the coop. Since then they have been hanging out together, free-range. But about a week ago, I noticed that they weren’t all together all the time. I’d see four together, sometimes three, and occasionally the Chicken Cam would find one all alone in the run. I wondered why.
Now, as someone with three sisters, I totally understand that there will be disagreements among women. If you add to that the stress of suddenly being free-range in a new area, perhaps a little tension has developed among “the girls?” I don’t really know if chickens have factions or cliques, but I was advised that I needed a flock block – a cube of grain and supplements that gives the chickens something else to pick at besides each other.
It is entirely possible that there is some drama brewing in the clan. But the reality is that there is strength in numbers, and it would be in the chickens’ best interest to find a way to coexist.
And in case you’re wondering where I’m going with this: the chickens aren’t the only ones who’d benefit.
When our “shelter in place” started in March, I found most people scared for their heath, worried about the economy, and concerned for our future. In April, I set a goal to help as many people as possible. This focus allowed me to connect with others on a deeper level, which I will say was one of the “silver linings” of this COVID experience.
Since then, though, the death of George Floyd and the surrounding protests have highlighted a division in our country. The great news is that the ills of our society are coming to light, but truthfully, we can’t get to the other side without dialogue. In order for us to emerge as a stronger country, we need to listen and hear what everyone is saying, and together we need to work toward a solution.
I am challenging myself to hear, to be open to better understanding what is wrong with our society, and to be part of the solution. I believe that is what humanity is all about.
At the risk of being corny, I think we can learn from the chickens who need a common “flock block” that they can pick at together. However, we can do much better than chickens. We can choose to come together to work towards a better society and a better world. Collectively, we can create a better future together.
I finished my chicken coop and have just a few details to wrap up before I bring the chickens home to roost (I’ve been waiting my whole life to say that). But surprisingly, behind these details has been some fear, almost paralyzing enough to keep me from finishing the job. Can I handle the added responsibility of caring for chickens? How will my daily routine change? What if I do something that causes a chicken to die?
I spoke with a good friend who’s a chicken owner, and she reassured me that the benefits of owning chickens far outweigh my fears. Yes, I will have to adapt my daily routine. And chickens do die – sometimes of natural causes. But, in the end, the experience is a lot of fun!
I wonder how many of us are facing this same kind of fear right now. Fear of not knowing what our post-COVID life might look like. Fear about keeping our families safe. Fear about the future of our businesses.
I’ve spent time reflecting on some of my fears. And I’ve learned that nothing worthwhile is ever accomplished without some fear and uncertainty. Have you ever been through an event that caused you to change, either by choice or by circumstance? Did this event bring about a worthwhile outcome?
The Chinese word for change is made up of two symbols – Danger and Opportunity. If we know that our current reality is going to change, then we have a choice to look ahead with a positive mindset. And given the choice, I choose to see this uncertain future as an opportunity for growth.
There are countless examples of how people and businesses are adapting to this new world – distilleries making hand sanitizer, Ford making ventilators, Subway delivering groceries. There are many opportunities for you and your business to pivot toward a new reality. In order to do that, you need to adjust your mindset to see beyond where you are and focus on where you could be.
If you are struggling to find where you fit in this uncertain future, please reach out to me. Together we can get you and your mindset focused on a future full of opportunity.