“Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that so it goes on flying anyway.”
– Mary Kay Ash, Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics
I have these words scribbled on a sticky note on a wall in front of my desk. I first read them several months ago when I was wondering what I was doing writing a blog, running a Reiki group and setting up a life coaching business. Wherever I looked online I saw big, brash people shouting about their coaching businesses from the rooftops, many of them selling their secret recipe for success in a tidy package. Call it naivety, call it stubbornness, but that way doesn’t appeal to me and I’m not willing to pretend to be something I’m not. That left me feeling like a fluffy little chicken trying to fly with swans, which is why that quote struck home when I read it.
What was stopping me from flying? Me. I was telling myself that my way wasn’t valid. I was believing the hype not just of the noisy gurus with something to sell but of a lifetime of naysayers. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel like that chicken flapping away in a flock of swans, from nursery through school, university and work; always feeling different and lumbering. I don’t have to describe those feelings to you: If you’ve been there you’ll already know exactly what I mean.
Looking at the faded bumblebee quote in front of my desk I can feel that things have changed. The transition is hard to define, but it’s the difference between staying on the ground because other people say you should, and deciding to move your wings anyway and seeing what happens.
The bumblebee doesn’t know or care that to us it looks more like a small pom pom than a creature that can fly at around 10 miles an hour with remarkable maneuverability. It is unconcerned with what we think of it and with human theories of flight. How birds and planes fly doesn’t matter to the bumblebee.
What matters to the bumblebee is that it has a job to do and the tools to do it. You and I have jobs to do, purposes to fulfill, things we feel drawn to do – and we have many, maybe all the tools we need to do it. Some people won’t get that, no matter how much you explain it or wish they would. But – some people will.
There’s no one neat trick to get you flying, there’s no quick fix or handy package. It starts with one thing: Being open to the possibility that your difference is a good thing, and that it’s the thing that will help you to fly. If you don’t believe me just ask the bee girl: