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How did I become the man in the chicken suit?
It all started eighteen months ago. My client Terri was struggling to find the motivation to study for a particularly dry module in her upcoming HR exams.
We’d explored some of the more conventional motivational techniques – understanding how the exams fitted into the big picture for her career, getting someone to hold her accountable, setting rewards for success.
No dice. This stuff was truly dull.
Suddenly a flash of inspiration – a little wager. Another client had purchased a chicken suit as part of her campaign to lead a less ordinary life (don’t ask!).
The deal was set – if Terri studied for and passed her exam successfully, I would walk down a busy shopping street in broad daylight… in a chicken suit.
Miraculously, Terri’s attitude to study transformed. Suddenly she was whizzing through the modules like a superhero on a mission.
Exam day came and the inevitable result. Passed with flying colours. Terri even got a lapel badge to proudly tell the world she is a qualified HR practitioner!
Fast forward to April 2010
The venue: the bustling Santana Row bar scene, San Jose, California.
The time: Friday evening at Happy Hour.
A 6 foot five chicken emerges sheepishly from a side alley.
A group of men in suits stop drinking their beers mid sip to stare.
A passing couple do a double take.
A security guard looks a little nervous and considers reaching for his radio.
The world starts to warm up to the idea of a giant chicken in their midst.
Suddenly people start approaching. “Could I have a photo? – My dad would love it” asks a passer by.
Children are waving and smiling, coming up to say hello.
In the frozen yoghurt place, everyone loves the chicken. The guy behind the counter has never seen anything like it. The chicken has made his day – “this one’s on the house”!
Deep down I wasn’t looking forward to wearing the chicken suit. In the end I could hardly take it off. I loved every minute of being a chicken.
Lessons learned from being a chicken
What do I take away from dressing up in a giant chicken suit?
- Sometimes finding motivation requires something a little beyond the ordinary.
- Doing something different is fun and inspiring.
- Wearing a chicken suit showed me that there is no need to be afraid. I normally loathe being the centre of attention, yet with the suit it was great. Now I can imagine wearing a chicken suit to stir myself on to greater things.
- I have a renewed respect for anyone who has ever been a mascot – giant yellow chicken suits are hot and cumbersome!
Over to you
- What do you do to be a little bit extraordinary?
- How do you motivate yourself when the going gets tough?
- Have you ever dressed up in public and what happened?