A Swallow’s Tale

Nesting birds in shed

Our cottage has an adjoining cart-shed style open fronted garage which currently hosts four active swallows nests.  The clash of their airborne incontinence above (once) shiny cars is a small price to pay for observing Nature’s miracles literally on, or rather above, our doorstep.

Recently I spotted a part-grown swallow chick cheeping happily from the garage floor. Having fluttered down from an overcrowded nest it was enjoying the space, unconcerned that our nearby cat was peckish. Hastily scooping it up, our feathered adventurer cheeped cheerily in my hand whilst I grabbed a stepladder and returned it to the nest.

What struck me was the bird’s total lack of fear. Whilst the adults were wheeling around my head issuing warning screeches, the youngster was quite unconcerned. It had not yet learnt the meaning of fear.

What a wonderful state that would be when we are undertaking job interviews, presentations, new roles, networking etc. Imagine enjoying performing without self-imposed limits based upon fear of failure. A clear, stress-free mind able to fully focus on the task in hand.

Where does fear-conditioning come from? Past experiences may certainly hold us back, but who is to say that history will repeat itself? This time you may succeed. What though if you have no learnt experiences for the new activity you are embarking upon? “I wouldn’t do that if I were you!” “I did that once and failed.” “We don’t do it that way around here.” “It will never work.” All such warnings may be offered by others with helpful intentions but they are conditioning our minds towards fear of failure.

However, I fully recognise the value of understanding the risks involved in any undertaking. What I am advocating is that if you are giving ‘helpful’ advice to others, bear in mind the person it is directed towards is not you. They may have different abilities and attitudes. Give their success focus the benefit of the doubt. Offer constructive advice based on experience but do not damage their motivation to undertake the task.

If you are the one undertaking a new task, recognise the benefits of feeling liberated from fear, like that little swallow. Balance it with advice from others and if it feels right, go for it and enjoy!

As I type I just heard multiple warning screeches from some of ‘our’ swallows. Four of them were mobbing a nest-marauding jay. This huge (compared to them) bird rapidly took to the wing, followed very closely by the swallows until a safe distance was reached. Teamwork can achieve goals as a group that may not be feasible for a single person … or bird. What wonderful business lessons we can learn from Nature - if we are looking for them.


Chris Liles helps businesses get bigger and better and boosts business relationships.

Contact: 07885 25 35 25 or [email protected] 

Blogsite: www.liles.co.uk  


© Chris Liles 2013

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