“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” I often hear these words in the voices of my mother and father, when I’m considering doing something that might upset my current circumstances. It has been a guiding force in my life, meant to protect me, but more and more these days this cautious refrain holds me back, keeping me from living the life I want to experience.
Last night I spoke to my Uncle Bob on the phone. I told him how much I’d love to pick up and move to France, to start fresh there. “Wonderful!” he replied sincerely. I was taken aback by his enthusiastic acceptance and support of this “wild” idea I’ve been considering. Uncle Bob is from my parent’s generation, a generation I thought was all about admonition (like my parents were).
“Uncle Bob,” I started hesitantly, “You know if my parents were still living, I don’t think they would be as supportive of my dream as you are.”
“Hmmmm.” was all he replied.
“I can hear them warning me to think about all that I’d worked so hard for here and would be giving up.” I paused, then continued, “I can hear them telling me, ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’.”
“Patricia,” he responded in his slow deliberate way, “I don’t believe there is a bird or a bush. I prefer the saying ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained.’”
In that moment, a shift took place in me. No longer do I have to be anchored to my past. I can look to my future with optimism. I can see that change, stepping out of the routine and safety of my present existence, is filled with opportunities and not only liabilities.
As a life coach I help my clients reframe their thoughts from ones that create negative, unproductive emotions to ones that free them to be their best selves. I do this by teaching them that our thoughts create feelings that move us to act as we do (or even keep us from taking action at all). I help them become aware of their thoughts and feelings and I show them a technique to replace unproductive thoughts with ones that generate positive feelings, productive action, and move them to attain their goals.
Thanks to my Uncle Bob I have a new way of thinking about change in my life. I’ve already put it into action. Each time I hear that familiar bird-bush adage I immediately hear his words, ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained.’” And I feel free.
What thoughts are you thinking that keep you stuck? How might reframing those thoughts using this technique improve the quality of your life? I urge you to try it out. The next time you find yourself not taking action, in spite of your desire to make a change, ask yourself, what am I telling myself about this?, how is this making me feel?, and what can I replace this thought with so I can actually make my next move? Try this out and let me know how it works out for you.
Photo Credit: Esther Tuttle