Once there was a farmer who found an eagle’s egg and put it into the nest of a prairie chicken. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them. All of his life the eagle, thinking he was a prairie chicken, did what prairie chickens do. He scratched in the dirt for seeds and insects to eat. He clucked and cackled. And he flew in a brief thrashing of wings and a flurry of feathers, no more than a few feet off the ground. After all, that is how prairie chickens were supposed to fly.

The farmer, worried about his “prize chicken” was extra careful to keep the chicken protected and safe. He built a special coop with a roof and restricted the chicken’s activity and exercise. The farmer dreamed of the off-spring that this large chicken could bring and the money that would flow in.

One day the eagle saw a magnificent bird far above him in the cloudless sky. Gliding with graceful majesty on the powerful wind currents, it soared with scarcely a beat of its strong, golden wings.

“What a beautiful bird,” said the eagle to his neighbor. “What is it?”

“That’s an eagle, the chief of birds,” the neighbor clucked.

“But don’t give it a second thought. You could never be like him.”

So the eagle never gave it another thought.

Then one day a veterinarian came to the chicken ranch to check on another animal. He spotted the eagle in the special coop and asked the farmer about it. The vet tried to convince the farmer that it was an eagle, but the farmer insisted that it had been hatched in the coop like thousands of other chickens he had.

The vet said he could prove the eagle’s origin and climbed up in the barn and threw the eagle into the yard thinking that it would fly. The eagle flapped and sputtered, but fell to the ground and quickly scurried back to his coop to scratch and peck for food.

The vet then took the eagle to a high cliff and looking into the eagle’s eyes said “Thou art an eagle, FLY!” He tossed the eagle over the edge. The eagle flapped, sputtered and screeched at the vet. He seemed to say, “Why?”

Just before hitting the canyon floor, the eagle spread his mighty wings and soared higher and higher, above the cliff and the vet.

So I ask you to ponder the following:

Are you most like the eagle, scratching for seed and bugs, not knowing and fulfilling your destiny and potential?

Or are you most like the farmer, limiting your prize possessions potential because of your personal fears and apprehensions?

Or (hopefully) are you most like the veterinarian that can see the potential in those around you, and then go another step to push them to achieve it.

“If you inspire [influence] someone to Dream more, Learn more, Do more and Become more you are a leader.”  John Quincy Adams