How Are You Fencing Yourself In?

Posted by on Jun 29, 2015 | No Comments

B&W picture of crying girl behind metal fence

I don’t know about you, but I find that some of my favorite quotes come from movies that are made for the under-13-crowd.  Since I’ve a grade-schooler at home, it’s nice to have an excuse to plop down with a bucket of popcorn and watch something that actually has a positive message in it.  It’s really too bad more grown-ups don’t watch kid-movies

One movie that stands out in my mind is “Chicken Run”.  If you haven’t seen “Chicken Run” – it’s great fun with a macbre-twist.  It’s an animated stop-motion film about a chicken farm in the 1950’s whose nefarious owner decides to go from selling eggs to making chicken pot pies.  As you can imagine, this causes quite a stir in the hen house and under the leadership of “Ginger Chicken” the hens work to plot their escape.  Ginger throws out dozens of ideas – all of which are turned down:

“We could….!!!”


“We could…!!!”

“That’ll never work.”

“We could….!!!”


Sound like a meeting or two you’ve attended?

Finally, exhausted and frustrated, Ginger looks out over the crowd of chickens – all who are facing their demise, but none who seem to have the impetus to do anything about it, and says (in a wonderful British dialect), “The fences aren’t just around the farm, they’re in your HEADS.”

And I thought…yes.  Yes they are.  For most of us, our fences are in our heads.

I see that with myself.  In all my reasons “Why not…”  In my need to be perfect before taking a leap.  All the barriers I erect in my mind to keep me safe.  Except they don’t.

And I see them in all my participants, in my colleagues, friends, and family – because of course it’s so much easier to see them in others than it is to look in the mirror.

I often say, when I lead a session, that if we can name it, we can do something about it.  What are your fences?

(Spoiler Alert!)  You will be happy to know that the chickens did eventually find the strength, creativity, focus, and fortitude to make it over the fence.  Yes, that was partly due to Ginger’s incredible leadership and her talent for bridging the confidence of every chicken on the farm.  But she couldn’t do it alone.  Each chicken had to find her own way to grapple with the fences – both real and imaginary.

How are you fencing yourself in?  What might lie on the other side?  Our fences don’t have to be our demise.  For on the other side we might not only find the freedom we seek, we might just find our brave selves.

©OnStage Leadership, 2015

Upcoming sessions of OnStage Leadership:  Dallas – July 7, 2015 (space available!);  NYC – Fall, 2015 (specific dates tbd),  please notify us if interested in participating or being put on the wait-list.

Kimberly Davis is the Founder/Director of OnStage Leadership, a full-day experiential leadership workshop.  Click here to read what people are saying!  If you’re interested in more information, or in having Kimberly come speak to your group on topics around Authentic Leadership, Influence, Presence, Engagement, Purpose in the workplace, or Presentation Skills we’d love to hear from you!

Kimberly’s recent Tedx talk  Kimberly’s interview on Voice of America’s Working on Purpose Channel:  Bringing Our True and Best Selves to Work:  Cultivating Authentic Leadership with Kimberly Davis



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