Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Sunday Squirrel...acorns of wisdom

Okay, I can either get irritated or embrace the fact that I have become the kind of person 
Keep reaching, my can only achieve more!
synonymous with the traits of a squirrel, often snapping a quick picture of beautiful clouds in the middle of an afternoon meeting.  Or channeling a catchy tune when the room is blank and silence threatens to drown a room.

I also throw out dozens of far-fetched and crazy ideas … waiting for one to stick.  Let’s hold that thought and consider my furry kin, the squirrel.

What exactly is it about the squirrel that gives her a bad rap?  I mean, come on…anyone can think in linear terms.  It takes a real trailblazer to think like a squirrel.  And if I have to pick my exact type, I choose the ground squirrel (though tree squirrels are more solitary and more like my personality).  I resent a little being referred to as a rodent; if I were indexing the animal kingdom classification for adjustments, I’d move the furry little squirrel over into a different category…maybe one all its own.

I’m not surprised to learn that if I trace the word “squirrel” back to its source of origin, it jumps back to Anglo-Norman (1327), taken from Old French, “escurel”, Latin, “sciurus”, and finally Ancient Greek, skiouros, meaning “shadow-tailed.”  Seems most things I see these days have some sort of origin or connection to Ancient Greece and its rich culture and history…and that’s not all bad since my two youngest sons are Greek American.  And if you’re counting, this would be the first diversion and call out of “Squirrel” on my thought process and storytelling.

Every time I’ve used the name “squirrel” in conversation, it has been to bring attention back from my kids or someone else, who has gotten off track or off topic.  I have also had occasion to be called “squirrel” in the middle of one of my own thoughts, darting and jumping from one thing to another…finally arriving at my point, which was good all along…it’s just not always easy to follow me when I’m on a spurt of inspiration.  While most are putting up the first roman numeral "I" and outlining a plan, I’ve already skipped ahead and thought about how to bring it to life.  I'm not saying it's good or bad.  Just a different approach.

And let’s think about squirrels and their strengths for a moment.  They have an excellent sense of vision (check, me too!), they are versatile (hey, me too!), and have a good sense of touch (I’m seeing a pattern).

Sadly my squirrel friends live a life more fraught with danger than I.  Did you know that most squirrels die in the first year of life?  Next time, I hope you swerve!  These guys are cute, with lots of potential.

Squirrels are also seamless in adapting to almost any environment, capable of living almost anywhere.  And they learn through observation.  At this point, I really can’t think of a reason why there would be a negative connotation to being referred to as a squirrel.
After all, the term “squirreling away” is a positive indication of anyone who is thinking ahead and storing up resources for the future.  The squirrel is smart in her own way, adaptive and flexible.

So the next time you see me in “squirrel mode,” remember this:

Some of my best ideations were hatched in squirrel mode…

  • Developed a social responsibility initiative to support children learning with assistive technology, resulting in a pilot program, followed by $100,000 in funding over two years.
  • Became a night-time blogger, making new friends and realizing you’re never too old to learn something new.
  • Helped my son dream so big, he created a #ShareaScare campaign to support autism, resulting in a grass roots fundraiser, with over $1,000 raised to support Autism Speaks.
  • Wondered what it would be like to finally publish a book I wrote decades ago…and so I did…and laughed out loud when friends from other countries asked me to autograph it.

Never take no for an answer…argue to the bitter end over an idea, supporting all the reasons it is brilliant…and be willing to sometimes concede that it just won’t work.

I have created revenue generators from everything from writing to yard sales and even making jewelry…knowing that like my furry friend, I need to squirrel away what I can, so that when the lean times come, I am well prepared.

So you wanna call me a squirrel?  Go ahead…I’d argue we need a lot more squirrels like me to deliver breakthrough results in a world full of nuts!


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