As I venture out to do some different things with my career and try to give flight to some of my long-held dreams, I was excited to come across the following story I first encountered years ago. I am a fan of John Maxwell. What follows is an excerpt from his book Your Roadmap For Success:
When you’re trying to realize your dream, sometimes you’ll be surprised by which people want to light your fire and which ones want to put it out. Let me tell you a humorous story that vividly illustrates this point.
A Canadian bird decided that it was too much trouble to fly south for the winter. He said to himself: “I can brave winter. A lot of other animals do it. It just can’t be that hard.” So as all the other birds flocked away toward sunny South America, he stayed behind and waited for winter.
By the end of November, he was having serious second thoughts. He had never been so cold, and he couldn’t find any food. Finally, he broke down and realized that if he didn’t get out of there soon, he wasn’t going to make it. So he started flying south all by himself. After a while, it began to rain. And before he knew it, the water was turning to ice on his wings. Struggling, he recognized that he couldn’t fly any longer. He knew he was about to die so he glided down and made his last landing, crashing to the ground in a barnyard.
As he lay there stunned, a cow came by, stepped over him and dropped a plop right on him. He was totally disgusted. Here I am, he thought, freezing to death. I’m about to die. I’m on my last breath, and then this! What an awful way to go.
So then the bird held his breath and prepared himself to die. But after about two minutes, he discovered a miracle was happening: He was warming up. The ice on his wings was melting. His muscles were thawing out. His blood was flowing again. He realized that he was going to make it after all. He got so excited and happy that he began to sing a glorious song.
At that moment, the farm’s old tomcat was lying in the hayloft in the barn and he heard the bird singing. He couldn’t believe it; he hadn’t heard anything like it for months, and he said to himself, “Is that a bird? I thought they’d all gone south for the winter.”
He came out of the barn, and lo and behold, there was the bird. The cat crossed over to where he was, pulled him gently out of the cow plop, cleaned him off – and ate him.
There are three morals to this story: 1) Not everyone that drops a plop on you is your enemy; 2) not everyone who takes a plop off you is your friend; and 3) if somebody does drop a plop on you, keep your mouth shut. The same can be true for you as you realize your dream. Some people you consider friends will fight your success. Others will support you in ways you didn’t expect. But no matter which people criticize you or how they do it, don’t let them take your focus off your dream.