Several months ago, I was fortunate enough to sit in on a work presentation on this very topic – Seven Principles of an Eagle. Albeit, the context of the meeting was to motivate a sales team, however, this was one presentation that has truly resonated with me in all facets. In corporate America, you are inclined, maybe even trained to believe that your greatest motivation tasks belong to your staff and team, but this is a message I want to pass on to my daughters first and foremost – Live life like an eagle.
Throughout history, the eagle has been the power symbol for many conquerors and nations. …including this nation. The eagle is the spirit of tenacity. These majestic birds have symbolized courage, strength and bravery, all of which are my hopes for my girls and for most of us as parents.
Seven Principles of an Eagle
(Disclaimer: these are the principles as described by inspirational and motivational speaker Dr. Myles Monroe. Some of these facts about eagles are scientifically disputable. I’m not by any means an expert in animal science or eagles.)
1. Fly with eagles
Eagles don’t mix with other small birds, they stay away from sparrows and ravens and geese.
Eagles fly with eagles, never in a flock.
Eagles fly alone at a high altitude and no other bird goes to the height of the eagle.
To my daughters: There’s an old adage, “You are the company you keep.” While I know you’re still so young, It’s important that you take heed to this warning. Don’t be afraid to be original, be the leader, fly alone when others can’t keep up. Whatever you do, don’t let others bring you down a level below your capability. In short, always know your worth! You are both Eagles and you are surrounded by Eagles.
2. Remain Focused
The wings of the eagle are an engineering marvel with feathers that can act as little winglets to reduce turbulence, increase lift, and prevent stalling at low speeds. With a grasp much stronger than a human hand, the eagle’s talons have legendary power. It uses its powerful back talon to kill small prey instantaneously while its front three grasp its prey securely. Eagles have strong vision, which focuses from as high as five kilometers in the air.
When eagles sites prey, even a rodent, from this distance he narrows his focus on it and sets out to get it. No matter the obstacle, the eagle will not move his focus from his prey until he grabs it.
To my daughters: Have the drive to remain focused no matter what the obstacle and know you will succeed. Life is about focusing relentlessly on your best opportunities and goals. It’s up to you, with the help of your leaders – me, your dad, our loved ones, and teachers – to create a vision for each opportunity. Then, I want you to stay focused on applying your innate talents, the right technique, the right strategy, the right practices in order to reap the greatest rewards. Again, remain focused, no matter what the obstacle, and you will succeed.
3. Steer clear of outdated and old information
Eagles do not eat dead things. It feeds on fresh prey.
Vultures eat dead animals, but not eagles.
To my daughters: Do your research well… always. Use the research, resources and tools at your disposal to stay on the leading edge of information, this will help you notice and create your best opportunities.
Don’t limit yourself to the dreams and visions that everyone else is chasing and don’t limit yourself to doing things the way you’ve always done it. Keep looking for new and innovative opportunities and give your all in your APPROACH from the ones with most promise.
4. Relish challenges
The eagle is the only bird that loves the storm. When clouds gather, the eagles get excited. When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it.
The eagle does not escape the storm. It simply uses the storm to lift it higher. It rises on the winds that bring the storm.
In the meantime, all the other birds hide in the leaves and branches of the trees.
To my daughters: Achievers relish challenges and use them to propel. We can use the storms of our lives (obstacles, trouble, etc) to rise to greater heights. Your talent is innate. Skills are taught to you by your parents, mentors and teachers. Experience is the outcome of putting yourself out there. The greater the challenge you take on, the more significant the experience will be resulting in more impactful wisdom, knowledge and refined skills.
5. Test before you trust
When a female eagle meets a male and they want to mate, she flies down to earth with the male pursuing her and she picks up a twig. She flies back into the air with the male pursuing her. Once she has reached a height high enough for her, she lets the twig fall to the ground and watches it as it falls.
The male chases after the twig. The faster it falls, the faster he chases until he reaches it and has to catch it before it falls to the ground, then bring it back to the female eagle. The female eagle grabs the twig and flies to a much higher altitude with the male in pursuit until she perceives it high enough, and then drops the twig for the male to chase.
This goes on for hours, with the height increasing until the female eagle is assured that the male eagle has mastered the art of picking the twig which shows commitment, then and only then, will she allow him to mate with her. Eagles select their mates very carefully. The Principle here is to test the commitment of people intended for partnership.
To my daughters: Whether in your private lives or in business, test commitment of people intended for partnership. Finding and gaining credibility takes time and energy. Those who are worth your partnership will pass any test and eliminate doubt.
6. Prepare yourself
The Eagles carefully prepare their nest location and construction. Both make and female eagles participate in raising the eagle family. She lays the eggs and protects them; he builds the nest and hunts.
When about to lay eggs, the female and male eagle identify a place very high on a cliff or a tall tree where no predators can reach; the male flies to earth and picks thorns and lays them on the crevice of the cliff, then flies to earth again to collect twigs which he lays in the intended nest. He flies back to earth picks thorns and lays them on top of the twigs. He flies back to earth and picks soft grass to cover the thorns.. He repeats this process until the nest is nearly completed.
To my daughters: Always be prepared. In your lives, there are many stages that require preparation. From your day to day tasks, to long term education and career goals, plan ahead. Prepare yourself for success, as well as prepare yourself for failure and change. While things may not always go exactly as planned, you will always find yourself in a better predicament if you embrace the discipline of preparation.
7. Discard what is worthless and renew yourself.
The eagle has the longest life-span of its’ species. It can live up to 50 years. But to reach this age, it has to make one of the hardest decisions in its life. When it crosses the age of 40, it’s long and flexible talons can no longer grab prey which serves as food. Its’ long and sharp beak becomes bent. Its old and heavy wings, due to their thick feathers, become stuck to its’ chest and make it difficult to fly.
Then, the eagle is left with only two options: Die or go through a painful process of change which lasts 150 days/5 months.
The process requires that the eagle fly to a mountain to and sit on its nest. There the eagle knocks its beak against a rock until it plucks it out. After plucking it out, the eagle will wait for a new beak to grow back and then it will pluck out its talons. When its new talons grow back, the eagle starts plucking its old-aged feathers, plucking out every feather on his body until he’s completely bare. After five months, the eagle takes its’ famous flight of rebirth and lives for another 30 years.
To my daughters: Many times, in order to survive we have to start a change process. We need to shed off old habits and items that burden us and add no value to our lives. We sometimes need to get rid of old memories, habits and other past traditions because only when freed from past burdens, can we take advantage of the present. Each time, we learn something new and come out of it renewed and wiser. As painful and frightening as transformation can be the end result usually is exciting, invigorating and resulting in new opportunity and options for the future. Overcome the fear of change.
If and when my daughters are ready to hear and comprehend this message, I hope they will take it to heart. I hope they will embrace the lives ahead of them with tenacity, courage, and strength. I hope they will be Eagles.