The Power of Geese Flying

Are you scratching your head, wondering why your success hasn’t come yet?

It can be so frustrating and sometimes super overwhelming to read, listen, and take in all the quick fixes everyone is offering.

Three tips to success NOW!
5 great Hacks to unleash your greatest dreams!
The ONE thing you need to do TODAY to have success!

I know….I get those emails too, and it can be SO tempting to think the answer is something NEW; something that has just been just invented that is going to skyrocket you to the success you so desire and have been WAITING for.

But, what if the answer is actually closer than you think?
What if the answer to your success has been around since the beginning of time?

What if all you need to do, is look up?

College graduation day, 1998.

Yes, that is indeed me on the far left of the photo above.  The other ladies?  Those are my Geese.

College was a very special time in my life.  I was actually the guinea pig class of the BFA in Musical Theater at Penn State.  We started with 14 students, and the four of us were the only ones who graduated.

Being the first class, there was a lot of experimentation.  Each semester, our teachers would say to us,
Ok!  This is the first time we are teaching this class, so let us know how it is!

You can imagine some classes worked great, and others ended after the first year. It was really a conservatory program within a university setting, so we were essentially triple majors.  With intense studio classes, rehearsals, and our general education requirements, most of us were up early and going to bed around midnight.

It was a time of enormous exploration, and most of the students left the program, realizing they actually didn’t WANT to do musical theater as a degree.  We watched so many of our peers crash and burn, and it was scary.  Was this program going to work? 

But in the midst of all the chaos, we stuck togetherWe became incredibly close.  In the four years we spent together, we learned each other’s biggest fears and celebrated each other’s triumphs.

We dealt with eating disorders, school politics, rejection, anxiety, heartbreak, exhaustion, and really questioning if we had what it took to have a career in the Arts.  Nothing was certain.

On graduation day, we all received a gift from one of our mothers….a gold charm of 4 Geese flying in a V. On the back our names were inscribed alongside the date of our graduation.

We had made it.

And now, these young women you see above all created great success in their lives.  Today, we are,
An award winning Broadway producer
A film, national commercial actress, and print model
A full time musical theater performer and teacher
A global empowerment coach

What was our secret?
Look up…..

This fall, when you see Geese heading south for the Winter, flying along in a V formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way.

As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following.

By flying in a V formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone, and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front.

When the head goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.

Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

Finally, when a goose gets sick, or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out of formation, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection.  They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly, or until it dies; only then do they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with the group.

People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the thrust of one another, and are committed to each other throughout the journey.

And this is proven, for as long as geese have flown.  What a gift, this earth.  There is so much wisdom here for us.

So, are you flying solo?
What would it feel like to have encouragement when you are tired?
How would it feel to be protected and helped when you have been wounded?

And how much further could you go with a 71% greater flying range towards your dreams?

Who are your Geese?

If you don’t have any, here’s the beautiful truth,
Today is a new day, one you have never lived before.

Your life is NOW.  What you do now is creating your future.

Find your flock.
One that ALSO wants to be in a V and truly support you as well.
We are stronger together.

This is how you find the power to truly fly.

How to Let Go

Are you finding yourself disappointed and let down time after time by the people around you?
Are you feeling completely frustrated and stuck with the lack of progress?

Aren’t they supposed to be helping you?

When you deal with so much disappointment, I imagine it’s really easy to believe,
I’ll just do it myself!

And that can feel super overwhelming with all you need to do in your career and life.

Ultimately, I imagine you end up feeling very lonely. I know I did.

I can remember feeling like I had to do all the legwork in my career, because my agent just wasn’t booking the work I wanted.  I was constantly on her, and it was exhausting.  When I would book a show or commercial, it was really because of the work and relationships I had built on my own without her.

But I desperately wanted to up-level.  I wanted to be seen for TV, and get seen by casting directors I didn’t know for larger projects.

That part I couldn’t do on my own.

I kept hoping the relationship would change and thought if I worked even harder, maybe it would change. Maybe if I visited the office ONE more time, or sent ONE more email, or followed up AGAIN, she would magically get me the auditions I really wanted and everything would change.

She would finally be the agent I wanted her to be.

Have you ever felt that?

So, what do you do when the people who are supposed to be helping you advance in your career are not actually making a difference?

Is it you?
Is it them?

What is actually going on, and how can you turn the situation around?

One of my private clients, Diane, came to me after leaving a career she loved.  It was a messy ending, and one that left her doubting herself deeply.  After taking some time to heal, she realized she wanted to be a coach and a published writer, so she started working with me.

While she was in transition in her career, she had a side hustle working in a hardware store, and all began well, as she has a great love of tools and hardware, but things soured very quickly due to dealing with one of her colleagues, Sean.

Sean was deeply disrespectful to my client, Diane. He had a never-ending supply of sexist remarks and seemed to go out his way to sabotage any ounce of teamwork in the store.

Diane was beside herself.  She wanted to continue working there, but was finding it harder every day to show up because Sean was so difficult to be around. Diane deeply wanted to work WITH him, to find a way to create a team environment at the store, but every attempt was shot back with sarcasm.

Sean took over Diane’s mind.  It was affecting her more important work of building her business and working on her writing.

The hardware store job was supposed to be helping her move forward, but the situation with Sean engulfed her mind, and took all her focus. She didn’t know how to let go of the situation and move on.  Why was he making her so crazy?

She was exhausted and discouraged.

So, I gave her this prayer:

Just like me, you are seeking some happiness in your life.
Just like me, you are trying to avoid suffering in your life.
Just like me. you have known sadness.
Just like me, you want to be loved.
Just like me, you were once an innocent child.
Just like me, you are a spirit on a journey.

A prayer of empathy.

And something shifted.

When she began to look at Sean through an empathetic lens, she actually saw he was suffering, and she realized that a lot of his anger was also in her.

Sean was actually a mirror for Diane.

And when she had a mirror held up for what was actually alive in HER, it allowed her to release him from being the place to take out her anger.  Diane actually was able to understand and take responsibility for what SHE needed in the workplace, instead of feeling like she had to FIX Sean to make it happen.

Clearly, Sean was suffering.

But, Diane couldn’t control that or change that.  What this awoke in her was what she COULD do.

So, Diane started to create strong boundaries at work. She didn’t get caught up or involved in Sean’s anger and attempts to goad her on.  Diane stood up for herself, and created another side gig that fulfilled her even more and paid better.  She left the hardware store on HER terms, not because Sean drove her to it.

And within a year, she was published for the first time.

I came to the same place of acceptance with my agent.  I realized she was doing the best she could, and she was consistent.  She was never going to be the super agent I wanted or imagined her to be.  And it was when I released her, I was able to place my attention where it needed to be, and I ended up working with a Broadway director doing a show I loved.

New opportunities came because I was taking ownership of my life, and making the decision to have a support system and team that was just as excited about my work as I was.

HUGE difference.

There was no convincing, just beautiful support and growth.

So, take stock.

Who in your life and career are you expecting different results from?
Are they showing up consistently?
Have you tried everything to make them better and nothing changed?

Perhaps there is a lesson here.

One of the biggest places we struggle in our human journey is letting go.

But,what if the way to let go is through seeing what you have in common?
What if the way to let go is simply compassion?

We can then release this person to have their own journey, and in releasing them, you will open up the energy to bring in incredible managers, agents, bookers, and collaborators who do the work, are trustworthy, and have your best interest at heart.

Actress Judtih Light recently spoke of what an enormous impact her manager had on her career.  She credits him for her incredible success, Tony Awards, and Emmys. 

Support is out there for you, and it happens when you are in a healthy relationship where both parties are in agreement and are on the same page.

It happens when you let go of what is holding you back, and open to the new.

Just like me.
We have so much more in common than differences.

And that is your ticket to freedom.

Photography: Caitlin Cannon Photography