Once upon a time, there was a nonconforming sparrow who decided not to fly south for the winter.

However, soon the weather turned so cold that he reluctantly started southward. In a short time, ice began to form on his wings and he fell to earth in a barnyard, almost frozen.

A cow passed by and crapped on the little sparrow. The sparrow thought it was the end. But then the manure warmed him and defrosted his wings. Warm and happy, able to breathe, he started to sing.

Just then a large cat came by and hearing the chirping, investigated the sounds. The cat cleared away the manure, found the chirping sparrow and promptly ate him.

Now, it may seem that there are no lessons here, but there are. In fact, there are three:

  1. Everyone who shits on you is not necessarily your enemy.
  2. Everyone who gets you out of shit is not necessarily your friend.
  3. If you’re warm and happy in a pile of shit, keep your mouth shut.

Leadership Lessons

I, of course, couldn’t help thinking about these lessons from a leadership perspective:

  1. I agree with this lesson. Being shit on is an assumption. What you might think of as crap, might be someone else intending to help you. A great conversation starter might be “Hey, can I just check in on what you intended when you …”
  2. It’s true; the person who saved you might be looking for something. However, why do you need saving? Your inability to save yourself is just a story you’re telling yourself. It’s all choice (not to say we don’t sometimes need a helping hand).
  3. Keep your mouth shut? No! If you feel like you’re in a pile of shit, do something about it. Change where you are. Say something. Influence change. Just do not keep your mouth shut!

You’ve got this!

Story Source: “The Advantage in Your Disadvantage,” from The Healing Power of Humor, by Allen Klein

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