Lately I have been doing a great deal of personal reflection about life, career and the laws of nature. Of course, this is nothing new for me, since my work with clients stems from a longing to understand how we can all live, work, feel connected to something meaningful while honoring our unique stance in the world.

Another reason for this intense reflection is because several friends and colleagues are struggling with the passing or serious illness of a loved one. If you have experienced this type of journey, you might relate to the internal “jolt” that it creates.

I happened upon Cathy Shaughnessy‘s prior blog entitled “On Leadership and Hummingbirds” this afternoon. The blog had those wonderful elements of profundity and simplicity that make us stop, listen and maybe for one moment, understand.

It occurred to me… that there is something to be learned from the way things work in nature. I discovered that hummingbirds have a couple of things in common with leaders.

Speed An average hummingbird can move at an incredible speed, flapping its wings between 80 and 200 beats per second and taking 300 to 500 breaths per minute. Amoung the most common challenges faced by the leaders that I work with today is the speed that they need to move to keep up with the pace of the work. It’s nothing short of break-neck.

Cross Pollination Playing a critical role in plant propagation, a hummingbird can pollinate 2000 blossoms each day and cover miles of ground in the process. [Most knowledge workers] …deal instead in the propagation of ideas, concepts, products and business relationships with a reach that spans the globe.

So, how does this tiny bird weighing no more than 10 grams keep on going? Simple. It stops sometimes. It enters a state called ‘torpor’, a period of deep rest in which it conserves about 60 per cent of its energy. It takes a break to just be still.

Cathy makes the analogy of hummingbirds and leaders. May I suggest that all of us are leaders in our own spheres. We must all consciously enter into “torpor” so that we can remember what’s important and feel the infinite potential of each moment.

We are all on a very fast-moving train. It’s fun and challenging and exciting – yet we can easily miss the point of it all.

So there you have it. Another reminder to stop, listen and just ‘be’.

The irony of stopping is that it fills us with a sense of energy and calm, so everything we continue doing moves in a more positive direction.

When have you entered into torpor lately?


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