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Welcome to Merge's Monthly Mega Minute – a bite-sized, yet substantial and practical, nugget of information that you can use immediately to enhance your professional and personal success.

The tale of four birds

A few weeks ago, an elderly relative recounted a story from Indian folklore that I recall from cobwebbed memories of my childhood.

An elegant black crow lived in a forest absolutely satisfied and happy with his life. But one day, while flying through the forest, he came upon a swan. Landing in front of the swan, he said. "Swan, you are so vividly white and I am so black. You are so beautiful — you are the happiest bird in the world." Much to his surprise, the swan replied. "Actually, I always thought I was the happiest bird on earth until I saw the parrot. The parrot has two colours. I now know that the parrot is the happiest bird on the planet." So the crow approached the parrot. And the parrot explained. "I lived a very happy life ... until I saw a peacock. I have only two colours, but the peacock has many. The peacock is far happier than I." So the crow went looking for a peacock and found one in a zoo, surrounded by hundreds of people, all gathered around to see him. Later that day, after the crowds had left, the crow approached the peacock. "Dear peacock," the crow said, "you are so beautiful. Every day thousands of people come to see you. When people see me, they immediately shoo me away. I think you are the happiest bird in creation." The peacock replied, "I always thought that I was the most beautiful and happy bird in the world. But because of my beauty, I have been trapped in this zoo. I have looked carefully around the zoo, and I have come to the realization that the crow is the only bird not kept in a cage. So as far as I am concerned, you dear crow, who can happily roam everywhere, are the happiest bird around."

It's a common trap many of us fall into — believing that the grass is greener elsewhere. As we launch into a new year, perhaps it's worth pausing and reflecting upon what we have, instead of what we don't. Whether it's in our personal or our professional lives, what big things could we accomplish, what great barriers could we overcome, simply by focusing on how best to utilize the strengths and talents that we have, rather than concentrating on our shortcomings?

Share your thoughts and perspectives please. Join me online on my blog at:

Why CEOs should not take a vacation

Is the title of Merge's latest column in The Globe & Mail. Executive coaches often encourage CEOs in growing organizations to work “on” their business instead of “in” their business. But according to Merge, sometimes they take that advice too far. Read what she has to say:

Public leadership training events in Calgary and Edmonton

Merge has three "open to the public" leadership training events coming up in the next three weeks in Calgary and Edmonton. If your organization is currently going through an economic slowdown, now is the perfect time to invest in yourself and your leaders' competency and skill development! These one-day sessions are very reasonably priced starting at $525 per day (and include a continental breakfast and lunch!), a fraction of what it can cost through some commercial vendors. For more about these three programs, click here.

Turning Managers into Leaders

The Turning Managers Into Leaders blog took a short hiatus for the holiday season from December 14 to January 7. But we're back on January 11, excited and energized, ready to talk and learn. We're looking forward to another fantastic year of sharing tips and exchanging ideas, starting conversations and perhaps even some arguments, all in the pursuit of becoming even better leaders than you already are!

That Merge has over 100 leadership how-to articles available to you for NO charge?

If you've got a specific leadership challenge or issue you're dealing with, chances are that Merge has been asked that question before. Which means that she's probably written a how-to article on just that very subject! Our comprehensive article directory (along with the Turning Managers into Leaders blog, Merge's Mega Minute archives, the self-assessment library, and Merge's radio clips archive) will answer just about ANY leadership question or problem you're up against. Visit our Free Tools section, or go directly to the Article Archive.

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