Don’t be a Chester — Go for your Full Potential

I was chatting with a young woman who claims she hates her job and want to change.  Maybe she’s interested in starting her own small business.  She is working for a low hourly rate, doing hard physical work.  It’s a long commute, her co-workers are mean, and her boss is unreasonable.  She has no benefits, no hope for advancement.  And now her boss is asking her to only work 4 days a week, essentially a 20% reduction in pay that wasn’t enough to begin with.  She told me of several offers she had received from different people to do different kinds of work.  She could rattle off the negatives with every opportunity she had been presented.  “So,” I asked her, “what sort of work would you like to do?”

“Well,” she replied, “I wouldn’t mind having the same job, just closer to home.”

Say what?  Right then and there, I realized I was sitting beside a Chester.

Do you know the story of Chester?  There are many variations and the origins are unknown, but the one I like best goes like this:  A naturalist stumbled upon a old farm and observed a large flock of chickens pecking the ground, scratching for food.  In the midst of the flock was a beautiful, majestic eagle, pecking and scratching right along with them.  The naturalist asked the farmer about the eagle. 

The farmer shrugged and said, “Well, that’s Chester.  He showed up one day when he was a young eaglet and just started hanging around with the flock.  He thinks he’s a chicken.”  The naturalist asked if he could experiment with Chester.  The farmer said okay.

So the next day, the naturalist went to the farm and coaxed Chester onto his arm.  He tried to launch the eagle the way falconers release their birds.  The eagle looked at the man, hopped off his arm onto the ground and then hopped back to the flock.  The naturalist tried again the next day and the next day, and then the next.  He took the eagle to the very top of the barn and threw the eagle into the air.  Chester spread his wings, glided down to earth, and then hopped back to his flock.

The next day the naturalist packed Chester into a crate and drove far into the mountains.  There were dozens of eagles soaring and dipping and hunting.  At first Chester ignored them, looking at the ground, looking around for his chicken friends.  But then an eagle let out a cry. Chester looked up.  He watched and observed.  But when the naturalist tried to launch him into flight, he just hopped to the ground and starting pecking and scratching.  The naturalist took Chester to the mountains to see the eagles again the next day, and then the next, and then the next.  Each day, Chester was more and more interested in the eagles and less and less interested in pecking and scratching.  Finally, an eagle soared directly overhead and called.  Chester looked up, stretched his wings, jumped and took flight.  He followed his new friend onto the wind, dipping and soaring.  The naturalist watched as Chester became what he really was, a king of birds.

Are you a Chester?  Are you living the life your flock expects, or are you living at your fullest potential?  What if that naturalist had never found that old farm?  Chester may very well have died without ever knowing what it felt like to soar on the wind (which is the ending in many variations of this story).  Chester didn’t know about the potential of the world, all he could see was the barnyard.  It took someone, or something, to change his view.  He needed someone who knew more about the world than he did and believed in his potential.  For you, it could be a book or a movie or a conference or a coach.  Notice that it wasn’t his chicken friends encouraging him to seek his potential.  Do you think some of the chickens knew he was different?  I bet they did.  But even changing his world view wasn’t enough to make him change.  He had to actually see other eagles in action.  In order to live your potential, you need to surround yourself with others who are doing what you want to do.  You need to observe success.  Then you’ll find the potential inside yourself and have the confidence to soar.

So, don’t be a Chester.  If you think there is more to you than others see, take action.  Discover your true potential.  Find someone to help you, like a coach. Find successful people to model.  You just might find that you are actually meant for success far beyond your current dreams.

If you want to break free, but need a guide, I’d be glad to help. Reach out to me at Trina@SuccessPointConsulting.com

Here’s to your success,





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  1. Gladys Diaz

    Great article! Time to stop pecking around, spread my wings and fly!

  2. jean

    Great Post. Great reminder to “go for it!”

  3. Christine

    I really love this post. I had no idea what a chester was, but now I will never forget this analogy. The next time I know I’m playing small, I will think of the chester story! Thanks for writing this!

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