A little bird told me…: What we can learn from the world

Walking my dog in the backyard Friday morning, I noticed a little bird. Now, I am not Nature Girl so I cannot tell you what kind of little bird; give me credit for recognizing that it wasn’t some sort of airborne chipmunk. It was about the size of a dinner roll, grey and black and white. Very stylish looking.

not a little bird
Even I know this is not a little bird. Why doesn’t Google know that?

After I saw the first bird, I noticed it had many friends. They were hopping around from branch to branch. Occasionally I heard a whir as one took flight to get to a higher perch. And they were twittering, happy.

Are they new to the ‘hood or did I just never notice them before? I’d bet on the latter. But I stood there watching them long past the time my dog was ready to move on.

A little bird told me…

When I got back to my desk, I opened my email and found a note from someone on my mailing list. I’ve been sending out writing tips all week, as a way of promoting my Writing Unbound course. And she found one particularly compelling:

a little bird put this note from a client in context

When I checked the email to find out what this revelatory “third tip” was, I almost fell off my chair:

little birds can carry big metaphors

A little bird, a big metaphor

So what metaphor can I attach to the little grey-black-and-white birds in my backyard? What story could they carry for me or for my clients?

Since I saw them on Inauguration Day, I’m going to go with Community.

At first, I only noticed the one bird, because it was making noise. But when I looked up, I saw it wasn’t alone. There were many more in the branches, in the air.

We sometimes feel alone. And in the coming weeks, months, hopefully not years, we may be made to feel even more isolated. But we’re not alone in our noise-making. In our outrage. In our need to do something about what’s going on in our country. We’re part of a community of noise-makers. And we can each use the gifts we’ve been given to speak up about what matters to us.

Looking at the tree from my office window I can see the little birds are gone now. But they told me the story I needed to hear today.


My Writing Unbound course begins in early February. Join us and learn how to tell stronger, more effective stories. Because everyone needs to, these days.

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