Leadership Lessons from a Squirrel


Squirrels are eating us out of house and home, black sunflower seeds to be exact. The contest is constant. So far, it’s squirrels, forty-nine, Paula, zero. Game on. I went in search of the perfect squirrel proof bird feeder. Or so I thought.


Within an hour of hanging this “guaranteed” device, my fur friend was dangling upside down feasting on seed. OOOF. But in their simplicity, these little creatures have a profound message. As a business advisor, when I mention leadership lessons from a squirrel, clients give me the eyeball roll. And then, that changes. Let’s have a look.


1. Genius isn’t mutually exclusive to, well, geniuses it’s available for everyone, maybe even squirrels. I don’t think squirrels read about genius in Power vs. Force by David Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., but it certainly looks that way. If you’ve yet to read it, Hawkins spells out the essential message in advance. “The individual human mind is like a computer terminal connected to a giant database. The database is human consciousness itself, of which our own cognizance is merely an individual expression, but with its roots in the common consciousness of all mankind. This database is the realm of genius; because to be human is to participate in the database, everyone, by virtue of his birth, has access to genius.” Okay. So, a squirrel isn’t a human, but you have to admit, they may have access to the genius databank because no baffle will stop them. In fact, they never tire of engineering creative solutions to outwit us, not merely to survive, but to thrive. Isn’t tireless creativity in the face of challenges, no matter what, a core tenet of leadership?


2. Ingenuity is the new success. On a scale of one to ten, a squirrel is at 157 for ingenuity, crossing the street, not so much. Seriously though, consider this. Does the squirrel face a problem and say, “Ah skip it, I surrender?” Do they blog about problems? Do they hang out on social media sites and join the “Sky is falling, “crowd? Do they outsource their thinking? From what’s left in our feeders, it doesn’t look that way. Perhaps it’s the will to survive that drives ingenuity, because a squirrel will figure out a way though, around, over or under an obstacle. Maybe the squirrel knows finding solutions requires using a different energy than a problem? To constantly focus upon, talk about and fixate on a problem, neurologically cements you to it. Yet when you fully connect to the database, you possess an unobstructed mindset to funnel energy towards solutions unreachable from obsessing over a problem. And isn’t transforming a negative situation, regardless of what it is, into a positive one, for a come-back or to propel a business forward a hallmark of leadership?


Leadership lessons from a squirrel may be a stretch, or is it? What leader wouldn’t love an unhindered connection to the genius database, ingenuity and an unwavering commitment to finding solutions. You might say, we could learn from squirrels, just not how to cross the street.


Paula M. Parker (c) 2020 Originally published

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