Emotional Challenges for Executives, Managers and Business Owners

Partnering with Executives to Break Through Fear, Anger and other Emotional Barriers to Success

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All Work and No Play Makes Jack Really Stressed

People do not do their best work when stressed. I am a small business owner and I have my share of stress, anxiety and frustration. The economy, planning, budgets, employee training — you know the drill. Stress leads me too often to the refrigerator, too much TV and other not so productive time-wasting habits. But when I am managing stress better, I head for a picture window looking out my back yard woodland where I watch wild birds.

Feeder from Antique Barn Wood

Cardinals, Nuthatches, Finches, White Throated Sparrows, Downy Woodpeckers, Blue Birds, Titmice and more are a source of endless pleasure and relaxation. All species have their own personalities. They flit and fly and peck and eat and scratch and perch. It is true joy and peace to me. A few mornings each week I take Katie, our golden retriever, to help fill the feeders. Then I pull up a rocking chair, grab some binoculars and a few minutes before sunrise they come.

Female Pileated Woodpecker

This distraction exceeds pleasure. It is sacred time. I refuse the intrusive P&L statements, budgets and reports. I gain life perspective. This is proof that business serves life not the other way around.

As endless backyard beauty works its way into my heart, it changes me. My life has less problems and more opportunities. I am much less likely to blow up like a wheelbarrow full of explosives. Everything good seems more possible after some time with such beauty. I am grateful.  Watching birds reminds me God takes care of me. What I see at my window gives me a sense of rest and peace.

Yesterday was a real treat. I had seen the Pileated Woodpecker in the neighborhood for years but never with camera  in hand. The Pileated is a very large bird, nearly as big as its now extinct cousin the Ivory Bill Woodpecker. This morning he came to the back yard and posed for the camera as my heart leaped with excitement.

The Pileated do not come to feeders. Their food is grubs hibernating deep within dead and rotting stumps and tree limbs. Their beaks are over an inch long and are like a chisel to break apart wood to pluck grubs from within. Their pecking is like hammer shots and their “drumming” is heard from long distances.

Yesterday, stress relief was never so wonderful and complete. It was a rare and beautiful observation of this magnificent, elusive bird  even for a few minutes. I watched her tear apart the stump before spreading her 27 inch wingspan to scale the large tree. After that transforming experience the week  seems less formidable. My tasks are more attainable and the creativity needed to succeed more accessible. Thank you God for Ms. Pileated and friends. You have given me another stress relieving, perspective changing, encounter from which I will live and do my best work.

What is your “bird watching” activity?  Have you taken time in your stress reliever?Kindly share it with us.

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