Several years ago, my very talented and very fabulous friend Nathaniel Bibby shared with me the concept of Eagles and Turkeys.
I have always been selective when choosing who I spend large chunks of time with. The old adage “you become who you hang out with” is, in my experience, very true. Whenever I look back at things I’ve done in my life I realise they were influenced by who I was hanging out with at the time. For example, at 19 years of age I moved to London and rented a room in a big Australasian pub called the Redback Tavern. Everyone at the Redback smoked cigarettes, and guess what? I started smoking cigarettes too. Everyone partied hard, and guess what? I started to party hard too (even though I wasn’t very good at it!).
It didn’t take long for me to adapt to the environment and whoever ‘crazies’ I was spending time with. Unfortunately (but most interestingly) it took me a significant amount of time to fully come back to myself after I left that environment because the programming was now in full effect.
It spins me out no end when I reflect on how I treated my body back then! It was so out of alignment with who I am. That said, it has always been the perfect example for me when it comes to the notion that we become who we associate with. If I want to learn and grow, who around me is learning and growing that I can spend time with? If I want to eat more vegetarian food, who in my life is doing that well that I can learn from? If I want to be the very best life coach, what environment could I spend more time in to ensure that happens?
When Nat shared with me that he intentionally hangs out more with his Eagle friends, I was intrigued: “tell me more – what is an ‘Eagle friend’?” I asked.
He replied “Well Kato, my Eagle friends are the ones who are walking their talk, making stuff happen, and living a life with positivity, purpose and direction. They take 100 per cent responsibility for themselves and they inspire and grow me. The Turkeys, on the other hand, are those people who deplete my energy, live in victimhood, and don’t get off their asses to go after what they want. I have been letting these people go because I can see how much they drain me, and even though they’re great people with good hearts, I recognise that I’m not going to become the person I want to be surrounded by them.
“Sometimes though, we don’t recognise who someone is straight away. They may look like a Turkey, but then over time you see that they are quietly doing their thing in the background and getting on with living their best life. And then sometimes a person looks like an Eagle but then after a while you realise that they don’t follow through with what they say, or they’re not who they’ve projected themselves to be”.
Nat went on to share with me that Eagles and Turkeys have a lot of commonality – they are both birds, they both have beaks, and they both have wings.
But when you look at these birds more closely, you’ll notice that even though turkeys have wings, they cannot fly. They carry a lot of weight so they waddle around scratching the ground, scavenging and moving in circles. They need to be fed and taken care of and they never really go anywhere or do anything. When a storm is approaching, they will immediately seek cover in the coop and will remain there, pressed up against the other birds until the danger has passed.
When you look more closely at eagles you’ll notice they do not scavenge – they hunt. They go after what they want, they think for themselves, and they have some amazing talents (their incredible eyesight, amongst many others). They have no predators and they feed and take care of themselves really well. They build nests up high to be secure so they can observe the world below. Not only that, they do more than just fly: they soar along wind currents, leveraging their energy and travelling far and wide.
The thing about the human variety of Eagles and Turkeys is they don’t have to physically be in your life. You just have to be spending time with them somehow. Some of the leading Eagles in my world I have never actually met or only met a handful of times: Dr Joe Dispenza, Jason Vale, Esther Hicks and Tony Robbins to name a few. You can hang out with Eagles on podcasts, YouTube, Netflix or with books, it doesn’t have to be in the flesh.
You can also hang out with Turkeys in the same places – it’s your choice.
So, the question Nat left me with several years ago was “Who do you hang out with more Kato: Eagles or Turkeys?”
And now I pose the same question to you.
As we move into a new year and decade, is there room in your life for the introduction of some new Eagles? Are there some Turkeys that you could spend less time with so you have more energy to create the life you want?
As Jim Rohn, one of the leading forefathers of Personal Developement said “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”.
I encourage you to make 2020 the year where you choose wisely.