There is a family of owls that lives on our property in the high branches of a few 100-year-old eucalyptus trees. On one of those branches in one of those trees you can spy an owl perched majestically facing the sunset. Watching the sunset has always been a habit of ours. Especially if we are near the beach, we stop and watch until the sunset happens before leaving. It’s an event in the day that shouldn’t go unobserved.
The owl must feel the same because we’ve noticed that as we sit outside in our backyard watching the sun go down on the branch directly above our heads we see the owl silhouetted against the sun and staring directly at the sunset. It’s beautiful to see him there in all his majesty but I know he wasn’t always like that.
Since we first purchased the property we’ve had the chance to observe as a baby owl appeared and grew up over the seasons. Recently, my husband used the analogy of our friend Owl to explain something about growing up to our kids but it struck me as a terrific lesson in business. You see, we all have that business we admire, but just last season that business was stumbling around and trying to fly with a bra stuck to its claw. Of course, I’ll explain.
We long delighted in watching the mature owls in the trees but one day a baby appeared. He was more of a teenager owl, big with quite a few feathers but upon closer inspection he had a lot of baby fluff. He walked around the yard instead of flying. We he was brave enough he’d toddle over to our house and watch my boys run and play, seemingly unfazed by the activity so near to him. He even let me take close up pictures of him. In owl terms, he was making a lot of mistakes and was obviously naïve.
Then he began to fly. Awkwardly. Once he flew away from us but only high enough to sit on our neighbor’s clothesline. He then tried to flew to their roof. We watched as he was weighed down by a piece of clothing on his claw. He sat on the roof trying desperately to get the clothing off of him and eventually did.
The next time we saw him he was flying across the yard and pretty high. Then he began appearing when we did to watch the sunset with us.
I’ve had several businesses. Some never got off the ground, some soared only to fall hard, and others like my current business have struggled for years, slowly gaining momentum and still flying a bit wobbly.
Next time you spy that business you admire, looking all majestic and wise, remember that once upon a time–perhaps, just last season–that business too was flying around like a drunken baby owl with a bra hooked to its claw. Keep going and you’ll find yourself on that branch.