Almost every day I find a feather in my yard and when I do, it brings to mind Dumbo and the story of the magic feather. (For those unfamiliar with the Disney classic, Dumbo’s sidekick Timothy Q. Mouse gives Dumbo a feather and claims its magic properties allow him to fly, instead of Dumbo’s oversized ears doing the propulsion.) Of course, my feathers imbue me with no more specialness than Dumbo’s, but I always smile and envision what I would accomplish if they did.

The part that I sometimes forget is that I have feathers every day because I have seven bird feeders and two bird baths in my yard, and constantly have a smorgasbord of bird food available. I have feathers precisely because I take steps to attract birds.

Consider what you are trying to attract and apply this principle in other aspects of life. If you want creativity, fill your space with whiteboards and other idea-generating stimuli. If you’re seeking fitness, keep the weights and walking shoes where you run into them every day. If you desire greater spirituality, surround yourself with others who share your beliefs.

It works both ways: if you have bird feeders, you’re going to get feathers and if you want feathers, you need to attract birds. Are you intentionally feeding the outcome you crave?


I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: