I stopped blogging several months ago…we are inundated with text, words, stories, and digital images, and I did not feel that my contribution was adding quality to the world. Not that it wasn’t enjoyable or fun, just that it wasn’t necessary. So, I decided to only post if I have something that I think is truly worth hearing, only share stories or ideas that I think are useful, meaningful, and valuable to others.
And now, after 6+ months, I would like to share with you that I am an owl.
This fall and winter I am participating in a cohort called Leadership Plenty Institute. Our first session occurred this week and centered around finding “The Leader Within.” That meant a lot of inner reflection, putting into words our strengths and gifts, and identifying what we hope to accomplish, both in the cohort experience and within ourselves.
One activity we used to define ourselves is called, “What Animal Are You?” I was asked to think beyond the surface-level attributes of animals and dig past the standard stereotypes of animals to select the animal that best represents me. You can see from my notes below that I began the task by writing down a characteristic that I see as a strength: big vision, and I immediately thought that the animal’s eyes must be prominent. Then I wrote/admitted that that I am a better thinker than doer, so my animal needs to be still. By this point, the image of an owl in a tree popped into my brain. I went on to write down traits that I exhibit and how those might look in an owl:
The next portion of the activity was to draw your animal, so I Googled “owl characteristics” thinking I would find a nice coloring book drawing that I could copy. Instead, the first record returned was the owl entry on a website called The Animal In You Personality Test, and I really loved what I saw:
I want to be ELOQUENT, SINCERE, and CONSERVATIVE, so I made a squiggly line, and I wrote down those three strong, yet beautiful, words.
Intrigued, I scrolled down to find a few quick facts:
A few of the keywords and phrases that jumped out at me:
- great integrity and quiet demeanor
- always well groomed, noble, elegant
- a reputation for intelligence with a deeply philosophical bent
- deep spiritual senses that guide
- calm, an astute observer of human nature
- trustworthy and dependable
- takes responsibility serious with an enormous capacity for hard work
Those SOOOO describe a person I want to be! Of course, some of the other characteristics that are listed are also spot on:
- not very playful
- not hesitant to use razor-sharp tongue
- has a (huge, in my case) need to impart wisdom to others
But, you know, every rose has its thorn, and if I can be an owl, I am willing to be an owl all the way…and I really, truly wish to be this owl!
This silly, yet surprisingly insightful, exercise has been truly beneficial for me. I share it with you today because it prompted me to take a focused look at myself, it helped me process what I found when I took that look, and, most importantly, it allowed me to like what I saw.
So, now I have to ask: What animal are you?