Thursday, September 2, 2010 · 9:30am ET


Posted by: Harold Byne

Early one morning last week, while sitting on the shore of a small lake on Manitoulin Island, I was caused to reflect on the amazing wonder and power of wings. The lake was completely still and there was a very slight mist hovering over the water. As I sipped my first coffee of the morning, I was enthralled by the enchanting call of the loon, and then captivated by the sight of two Herons as they flew in tandum just a few yards from where I was sitting and what appeared to be a foot above the water.

The evening before, as we sat around our campfire, we were caused to look up in awe at the site of an eagle overhead. The eagle appears to soar effortlessly with those mighty wings spread, the herons wings flap rhythmically, and the loon, although it can fly 110 km per hour, never soars, but must work its wings continually to maintain flight.

The thought that engaged my mind metaphorically that morning was that success for us, is all about developing and using our wings. We were made to soar, to be, to become all that we can be, to do better, to go farther, to climb higher. We are most alive when we step out of the box of our comfort, the trap of our fear, and into the open air of our unique potential, the world of wings.

I love those mornings and evenings sitting by the lake and being recreated by the sights and sounds. I love even more the experience of taking flight, and with this article I offer  my encouragement to you to answer your opportunities to spread your wings and fly.


It is universal. When I do an audit in the context of personal and leadership coaching, there is a universal and prevailing answer that comes in some form or another – “I am afraid of failing”. Interesting, don’t you think, that we all have this common fear. Fear of failure is the fear of falling, and it is this fear, more than anything else that builds the barrier to our success journey.
When I watch a hawk or eagle soaring high in the sky, I wonder about that first flight. There is great video footage of a young eagles maiden voyage on the ARKive website. ( I don’t know what the eagle experiences, but I know what it feels like to take that leap and experience the exhilaration of doing what to that point only existed in my mind. There is nothing like it!

I love the words of Emily Dickinson – “We’d never know how high we are, till we are called to rise; if we are true to plan, our statures touch the sky.”   There is so much more to our experience, but we first have to get past that fear of falling. Our statures can touch the sky!
If you are reading this, and fear is preventing you from making a decision or seizing an opportunity, there are four thoughts/ideas I want to encourage you to reflect on …
          1. There is no soaring without the experience of fear. Fear will always preceed it. It is something to be accepted but not given in to. It is something not unique to you.  It is universal.
          2. You have the capacity to soar. Just like the eagle, you were designed for more, more than the comfort of the nest can ever deliver. Confined by the box that fear creates is an affront to who you really are.
          3. The experience is incredible. There is nothing like facing that fear, stepping out of your comfort zone, and taking flight in the direction of your dreams and opportunities. It is the greatest feeling life has to offer.
         4. There is nothing worse than regret. The greatest of tragedies is to look back on our lives and know we missed our unique calling, because we feared the risk involved. There is no more tragic experience than to look back full of regret.

I love these words that date back to the 13th century …   “This is love – to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment.  First to let go of life. Finally to take a step without feet” Jalal ad-Din Rimi (1207 – 1273).   Poet Patrick Overton put it another way … “When you walk to the edge of the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen: There will be something solid for you to stand upon, or, you will be taught to fly”.              HB

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