Lessons from Geese

Last night was the last group training session with Tri It For Life. We went to Freedom Park and had an outdoor session of yoga, mostly deep stretch yoga. It was a bit chilly, but I enjoyed it.

A the end of the session, while we were in savasana, the instructor leading our session read a story about how we could learn from geese. They teach us valuable lessons about the benefits of working together and working in groups. I was able to Google and find the original, so I thought I’d share it with you all (original post found here.)

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Lessons From Geese

Fascinated by the conduct of flying geese, Dr. Robert McNeish, wrote “Lessons From Geese” for a sermon in his church in 1972. Demonstrating the power of a good idea, his essay spread and has become a classic statement of the importance of teamwork.

Fact: As each goose flaps its wings, it creates “uplift” for the birds that follow. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.

Lesson: 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.

Fact: When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into formation and another goose flies to the point position.

Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on one another’s skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents or resources.

Fact: The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

Lesson: We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is much greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one’s heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.

Fact: When a goose gets sick, wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it to help and protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.

Lesson: If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by one another in difficult times as well as when we are strong.

Fact: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.

Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose, we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.

I don’t know about everyone else, but I don’t think I would’ve had 12 weeks of SUCCESSFUL training without the ladies from TIFL. There’s nothing like having a group of people to provide support; whether it be a hand to hold when you are frightened, or that cheer of encouragement when you do something you’ve never done before.

How has the TIFL “flock” helped me?

  • Many times during run training, I felt like the wounded goose who had to fall back and nurse my knee. Athletes and mentors stopped and walked with me every time. At this point my goal is not to break any records, it’s to finish the race. If I see someone I trained with who is struggling, I’d stop to help them.
  • I was never able to motivate myself to work out alone. Meeting with the group helped to keep me focused and motivated.
  • Positive honking (lol) – I never left training without hearing “great job” at least once. We all encouraged each other.
  • I could probably list even more things, but suffice it to say, this experience has been invaluable.

    Thank you to all the mentors, athletes, loved ones, and friends who have supported me along the way!

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    7 thoughts on “Lessons from Geese

    1. What a great blog post! I’m so thankful for this experience and to have met and trained with you in Tri It For Life! We will knock it out the box on Sunday!

        • I don’t think there are any here but we do have other Tri’s. It’s such a great concept and I know there are a ton of people who want an environment like that. O well…one day! Maybe you will start the Atlanta chapter!

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