Lessons From The Pelicans

August 1st, 2019 by under Business - General. No Comments.

One of the areas I like to go to when I go to the Cocoa Beach area of Florida is to Port Canaveral. There are good restaurants, cruise ships leave from here, local fishing charters are there and so much more.

On my last trip, I had just finished dinner at one of my favorite places, when a fishing boat arrived back. I love watching them clean the fish so I walked outside. Now, you might not know this, but I’m not a big fan of birds…long story, but suffice it to say I grew up with barn swallows and they swoop at you – not fun (and that sticks with you).

That being said, the pelicans always swarm the area when the fisherman are cleaning fish – because they throw the heads and scraps into the water for the pelicans – and this day was no exception. 

What was interesting was the ingenuity of a few of the pelicans.  For example, the one pelican who not only flew to the top of the cleaning area, sat there for a while and then, actually looked under the shade cover at the fisherman as if the say “Hey, dude, do you have some for me.” And, he got what he asked for.

It wasn’t long before the pelican was joined by his friend who was also looking for an easier meal that he didn’t have to compete with the eight or so others that were sitting in the water waiting for something to be tossed over. (If you look closely at the picture, you will see the pelican closest to you in the picture, actually has a piece of fish in his beak).

Then, as if to one up all the others, one particularly smart pelican actually came over to the area where the fisherman were. There were no other pelicans brave enough to actually take the risk of getting that close to the crowd of people who had gathered to watch. Just this one bird…willing to take the risk! (And, of course, you know they always pick the person who doesn’t like birds to be closest to).

The way a few of the pelicans adapted and did different things, were willing to take more risk and really go for what they wanted was the interesting part here. Most of the birds just sat idly by and were content to get what was GIVEN to them and NO more. They didn’t go after more, they didn’t see if there was a way for them to get fed more or in a way that was easier. Instead, the majority were content to sit in the water and hope…then scramble for the scraps they were competing with eight other birds for.

Like in business, and in life, there were just a few…the 1% – 5% that were more willing to take a risk, to go outside their comfort zone to get more, to get what THEY wanted. AND, they were REWARDED – each and every time!

Was it scary and hard? Did it require extra effort? Would it have even been easier to sit back, be passive and take a chance on being faster, stronger and more agile than the other birds to get fed?


Maybe not…

If you take the more passive, laid back approach and think clients will just come to you, find you, don’t you risk ending up with nothing? Like the pelicans…sitting in the water waiting might have meant no food at all.  Sometimes, what appears to be the easy way is really the one that holds the most risk – even though it doesn’t initially appear that way.

Do you have a story about when you sat back and it cost you or when you went for it and it paid off? I’d love to hear it.

PS – This picture is of a pelican who decided to sit it out and hang way back – further out in the cove than any other pelican. And, for whatever reason, the dolphin that happened along decided to pick on this lone pelican. Not sure if the dolphin was trying to coax the pelican in to get some food or if it was just picking on it because it was alone, but it went on for several minutes…until finally the pelican gave up and flew away. 

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