May 20, 2024

Have you ever stopped, I mean really stopped for a minute to listen, hear, smell and feel the sounds of the wild animals around you?They’re everywhere…in the city, in the suburbs, in the skies and underground.And they have something to say to you…can you hear them?If there is something on your mind, a problem you’re trying to solve, a situation that needs a resolution or an unanswered question in your head, chances are the answer is right in front of you. Animals are a symbol, a secret society that has a vast and amazing collection of communication, strategy and survival techniques that are as important in our everyday lives as they are in the wild.Animals use their natural abilities to get what they want. After all, you’ll never see a skunk trying to reach the tall tree leaves so easily accessible to a giraffe! Yet, we humans spend so much time looking elsewhere and making things harder than they need to be.Here are 3 things you can learn from animals in the wild:1. Find new ways to get what you want.I live in a 3-acre ranch in the desert foothills in Arizona. It’s surrounded by a block fence and a gate, and features a large pond filled with fish on the front acre of the land. Our home is a sanctuary for us and also represents comfort and safety to a variety of wild animals. Outside the fence, every night, is a group of coyotes. In the middle of the summer, they get thirsty.Very thirsty.They want the water that’s in the pond. And a fish might taste good too.Now, when the gate is open, sometimes the coyotes just help themselves, coming right in through the front, going directly to the pond and enjoying themselves. They might even go for the easy prey. But mostly the gate is closed. They still want the water.We now have one very enterprising (and fearless) coyote who has figured out how to get to the water with very little effort, even when the gate is closed. You see, coyotes can jump quite a few feet in the air, even with a lame leg (which this one has). So Mr. Coyote has found the point on the fence lowest to the ground, and simply jumps up and over the block wall at that exact point to get to the water.How many times have you jumped over, gone through, around, under or just plain broken through an obstacle to get what you want? Animals do it all the time and never think twice about stopping because of the obstacle. What’s stopping you? How can you be like Mr. Coyote and get to what you want using another method?2. A simple, repeatable strategy always gets you closer to your goal.Sitting poolside at a hotel recently, I had the pleasure of interacting with a wild squirrel. I’d love to say that the squirrel was hanging around because of my wonderful, magnetic and charming way with animals, but I’d be lying.He wanted my bag of pretzels.I watched carefully as the squirrel calculated different ways to get at the bag of pretzels, laying wide open on a low table between two pool chaise lounges. First, he sat up on the fence far away. Then he moved in a little closer…and closer…and closer to get a good look. Then he scampered away to reevaluate his strategies and options.If he could talk, he probably would have said “Let’s see. I could run up and grab the pretzels, but the human would probably try to catch me. I could try sneaking in when she isn’t looking, but that’s too risky. Wait a minute – I know! I’ll use the patience strategy – works every time”.And sure enough, the little guy sat down, just out of my reach, and waited.He didn’t wait long. I threw him a piece of pretzel within 5 minutes.The little squirrel grabbed the pretzel, held it with both hands and ate it right there, on the spot. I swear he was grinning.Next, I held a piece of pretzel in my hand, just to see if he’d come closer. Again, he played the patience game and won. And again, and again and again. Finally, with his full stomach, he left to take a nap.How many times have you found something that works, only to change the strategy to something that seems “better” or “faster” or “different”? Changing strategies constantly will only serve to cause false starts, delays and frustration. Use a strategy to grow your business that works for you, not against you. Who cares if it’s not the most recent, most popular or most unique? Do what works and you’ll never go wrong.3. Act in spite of fearRabbits are notoriously fearful. They run away at the slightest movement, sometimes even afraid of the wind. But have you ever seen rabbits work together to accomplish a goal? They do, and it’s pretty amazing.On our ranch, we have bunches of rabbits. Spring is always a time for new, little furry bundles to show up with their brother and sister bunnies and begin to explore the world.In their world, there are juicy, tasty hibiscus and desert flowers available, but they are hidden behind a retaining wall. It’s a “no rabbit” zone. Or so I thought.Yesterday, I went out to my rabbit free zone to find – yes – a rabbit! A very small one at that, casually grazing on my off-limits flowers. A quick check outside the area and I saw 4 more full grown rabbits waiting patiently on the other side of the wall, presumably for the little one to come back with its report.Well, report he did, because today I have full grown rabbits eating the hibiscus in my no rabbit zone. Overcoming their fear, they have figured out a way to get in (I’m still not sure how they did it) to get at the really good stuff.If a rabbit can overcome its fear to get good food, what can you do? Is that fear of failure really so bad? What’s the worst that can happen? What’s the best that can happen? Is it worth it to you to really truly face your fear head-on in exchange for success? I hope so.I recently faced my fear of heights for the final time. For years, I was unable to even go into a glass building for fear that I would fall out. To overcome it, I began riding roller coasters all around the country. A few months ago, I faced the biggest one – the one that goes off the edge of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas – 100 stories in the sky – and lived to tell about it.So next time you’re outside, look around. The animals have something to say to you. Are you listening?