One of the sure signs of autumn and spring in North America is a “V” of geese flying south or returning north. Although it is esthetically pleasing, there is much more to the “V” pattern than you might realize.
As each bird flaps its wings, it forces a movement of air that creates an uplift for the bird immediately behind. By flying in a “V” formation, the flock is able to travel more than 70% further than a goose flying alone could.
When we work together as a group moving in a common direction, we can get there quicker and easier if we cooperate and help lighten the load for others. Working together and supporting each other creates an environment of trust and unity, which leads to joy in our work, and a greater sense of fulfillment.
The Chinese philosopher Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
When we feel we are valued members of a group we enjoy the work we do as part of that group, and in turn, we become a much more productive worker.
TAKE A BREAK
When the lead goose gets tired, it drops back into the formation and another goose moves up to take the lead.
The Lord has counseled us to use wisdom and not run faster than we have strength.
“…It is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.” – The Book of Mormon, Mosiah 4:27
It’s important to take a break occasionally. In an organization, it is beneficial to change leadership now and then and get fresh wings in the lead. Not only does that keep people rested physically, but also creativity is increased, and enthusiasm is heightened.
THE BUDDY SYSTEM
When a goose gets sick or injured and has to drop out of formation, at least two geese drop out with it. Those two geese remain with the injured goose until it is ready to fly again. The three then either start out in their own small formation, or join another larger flock, until they are able to catch up with their original group.
No one should be left behind. We should always be aware of those around us who are struggling. There is no better exercise than reaching down and lifting people up.
Maya Angelou said, “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”
Nobel Prize winning author Rabindranath Tagore wrote, “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I woke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
If we believe, as the Book of Mormon teaches, that the purpose of life is joy, then we should live lives of service.
When you hear the honks of geese overhead, you’re hearing the geese in the rear of the “V”. They honk encouragement to those in the lead who, for the moment, are bearing the brunt of the work. We all need that kind of encouragement.
In study after study, it has been found that the biggest motivator for employees in any work environment is not money, but rather being appreciated. Money is usually in the top five, and moves around from study to study, but being appreciated is consistently number one.
Geese seem to instinctively understand what Horace Mann meant when he said, “Doing nothing for others is the undoing of ourselves.”
Life can be difficult, but we can each make the journey lighter with words of encouragement . . . Honk if you agree.
This article was originally published on MormonMediaNetwork.com in 2015.
Copyright © 2015 by Energy Media Works LLC
When using portions of this article, please credit: MormonMediaNetwork.com
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Main title image by: wikimedia commons, Dirk Ingo Franke
Three geese on a pond by: morgue file, snowbear
Goose honking by: morguefile, gracey
Geese flying by: Wikimedia commons, Airwolfhound
“Hide not your talents, they for use were made, What’s a sundial in the shade?” – Benjamin Franklin
Work without love is slavery. – Mother Teresa
“If you care about what you do and work hard at it, there isn’t anything you can’t do if you want to.” – Jim Henson
“Doing nothing for others is the undoing of ourselves.” – Horace Mann