Soul-Wise Living
Soul-Wise Living

Staying On Purpose & Focused ~ lessons from the squirrel.

My father is now fascinated with squirrels. When I was at his home today, I sat and watched as he threw them peanuts and talked with them as if they are his pets. He used to have one as a pet, really! My father: The squirrel whisperer. But, that’s a story for another time. This is about watching the squirrels and looking at their behavior. It’s about sharing how to be a Squirrel in your life. Are you like a squirrel? Do you stay deliberate in the task that at hand? Do you stay on purpose?


Squirrels move, they stop, they stare, they listen, they are canny, they are deliberate in their being. Even when they seemingly run with no rhyme or reason the Squirrel stays focused on the task at hand. They stay on purpose.

The squirrel’s goal is to get a peanut and take it back to their nest. Simple. Survival. It’s amazing. They would come right up to the door and wait for their food. The food comes, they assess if it’s safe, and then, they go get it. They make certain nothing is in their way, they run they shift direction if need be, they continue to run and they find and climb a tree. They jump effortlessly from branch to branch SOMETIMES almost falling but never quite. All the while, they are stopping and assessing as need be. They stay on purpose and they stay focused. 

This is a lot like successful people. They stay on purpose and they stay focused. They know what they want. They have their purpose and hold it in their vision. They’ve identified what they are good at and they go do it. They begin a project,set a path forward. They grab onto a nut and move quickly forward. Much like the squirrel taking an acorn  to it’s next. 

No doubt, you want to be like a squirrel. Right? You want success. To do that, you need to identify your purpose, create a goal and define the project. They assess the situation, stay focused, re-assess as need be, and even switch directions as necessary. When you work in alignment with your purpose and goals, they can ALWAYS carry the proverbial nut back to the tree.

I don’t like squirrels much. They are rodents. And, seemingly, run around a yard with no objective in mind. This day, however, I learned to respect them and take their lesson into my work. I reviewed my purpose, created my goal for the day and defined the project. I was then able to stay focused on the task at hand and stay on purpose.

What do you do in your life to stay on purpose and focused? Can you learn from the squirrel? 

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  1. Can’t I just wait at the front door? Lol. This was a fantastic comparison between survival and business related success. Stay the course…stay focused and stay on purpose. And to think all this time when I would jump from thing to thing, instead of calling them shiny bubbles I would say “it’s like a dog going squirrel-squirrel” !

    Comment by Kelly — March 25, 2013 @ 8:48 pm

  2. You crack me up Kelly! My mom used to love birds in the feeders (not the squirrels) and when I stayed over, she would let my dog out saying “Squirrel, Squirrel” and he would ALMOST catch them! It was fun to see that comparison between my mom and my dad as well as sit and really study these guys. It seemed like such a natural correlation between how we need to work and play!

    Comment by Laura Clark — March 26, 2013 @ 6:18 am

  3. This is fantastic! I am working on defining my goals and staying on purpose with my writing. I am all about teaching my kids about purpose and working toward that purpose…but I forgot to set goals and be on purpose with my own dream! Thank you for this great post!

    Comment by Regina Walker — March 26, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

  4. Thanks, Regina. It’s hard to focus on purpose and dreams on ‘ourselves’ when we have kids. But, isn’t that really what we want to teach them, that they can strive for anything they want? And, so by focusing on our own, we are teaching them a valuable lesson! 🙂

    Comment by Laura Clark — March 26, 2013 @ 2:21 pm

  5. I think that I’ve improved my focus tremendously in the last few years, since leaving my corporate job. There, it was such a habit to multi-task, jump from one thing to another and respond to constant interruptions that I rarely had the quiet time to set goals. Now I do carve out the time and it’s made such a difference in what I’m able to accomplish. Thanks for the reminder to align my daily goals to my purpose – that’s taking it to a new level!

    Comment by Lori — March 28, 2013 @ 11:12 pm

  6. Isn’t it great when you can create your own focus and choose what to put your mind to at any given moment? Some people have such a challenge with that and ‘squirrel’ around ~ glad you have conquered that 🙂

    Comment by Laura Clark — March 29, 2013 @ 7:18 am

  7. Okay, while I love anything about squirrels, you’ve got ’em all wrong. Yes, when it comes to peanuts, they are all business. But man! They romp and play and chase each other. They hang upside down by their back feet just to get a good stretch and show off. And… they nap on long horizontal tree branches. And bark senselessly at nothing, as if their little yaps are keeping them company.

    See, I am a squirrel lover. Big time. I have a whole stable of them who come and visit me every day… for peanuts! They are a hoot! Quite silly, really. So, like us, they have their focused, don’t-mess-with-me time, but they can also be complete goofballs.

    Comment by Nancy Tierney — March 30, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

  8. On this particular day ~ they were all about the process and the job at hand. I’m even concerned that they come closer and closer to actually coming into my Dad’s house ~had a squirrel in my house once and he was all business about trying to find a way out. No doubt, like all creatures, they romp and play and chase and bark (though I don’t know if I’ve ever heard one!). They sure do have the lesson for us in all respects!

    Comment by Laura Clark — April 1, 2013 @ 7:33 am

  9. I was living in an apartment with a back deck once and I got to the point where the squirrels would come to the back slider and take a peanut from my hands. Then one summer day, I went out to run errands and left the front window open that didn’t have a screen. When I got home, I looked down the hall and saw a banana peel and a few feet away, a half-eaten apple. I followed the trail to the open window and found a partially eaten pear behind the sofa. And then I went back to the kitchen and found my fruit bowl empty! My little squirrels over-stepped their boundaries and ruined any more chances for peanuts. Yes, they were super focused – on getting food from me. I absolutely want the success part of that though : )

    Comment by Linda DiBella — March 31, 2013 @ 9:10 pm

  10. Linda! I had a squirrel in my house for about a week ~ unbeknown to me…I was blaming the tipped this and the dropped that on my dog! Of course, when it was the glass ware on a shelf that he could in no way have gotten too, I became a little wiser! It took it running across the living room in front of me to know exactly what was going on! You could have heard me half way to China!!! Haven’t been too fond of them near homes since then.

    Comment by Laura Clark — April 1, 2013 @ 7:36 am

  11. I love squirrels and always did! When I look at myself through the eyes of your description I’m very much like that . Even if I can seem unfocused, I now exactly where I’m going and I get there too. Multi tasking is another way to put it. 😉

    Comment by Stella Scott — April 2, 2013 @ 11:18 am

  12. Excellent Stella!! When I read your post, I thought, it’s like when I take the back roads to work…it may seem like I’m going out of my way but I know I wanted the scenic drive but I know where I’m going to end up!!! 🙂

    Comment by Laura Clark — April 2, 2013 @ 11:35 am

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