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Life is Easier and Brighter For Peacocks Now

BJ Gallagher Posted by BJ Gallagher.

BJ Gallagher is a workshop leader, keynote speaker, and author. Her topics include: leadership skills for women, male/female communication styles, how to manage your boss, thriving on change, and tapping into the creativity of diversity.

Life is Easier and Brighter For Peacocks Now

A vibrant Q&A with BJ Gallagher, author of A Peacock in the Land of Penguins (bonus: there are lots of colorful pictures!) 

Peacock Jacket Front ViewPaper Collage Peacocks

Paper collage/painting by Florida artist Elizabeth St. Hillaire. The bottom one is entitled "Flowers for Algernon"


Above, is BJ's newest peacock purchase: a custom-made jacket from London artist Diane Goldie.

What has changed in the community of “penguins” since A Peacock in the Land of Penguins was first published? Do you think penguins are more open to peacocks than they used to be?

Plenty has changed in the 20 years since the book was first published. The penguins have stopped clinging so much to the past and you no longer hear penguins saying, "This is the way we've always done things." So that's good. It means that they recognize that the future looks nothing like the past and they must be open to new ideas, diversity of perspectives, and new voices they haven't heard before. 

Women, people of color, people from younger generations, people from different countries – we need their talent, skill, creativity, ideas and innovation more than ever – and the penguins know it. The whole diversity conversation is no longer about legal compliance – it's now about creativity.

Above, we have a Thanksgiving-themed parody cover for Peacock made by the "clever birds" of Berrett-Koehler

Your 20th Anniversary Edition of A Peacock in the Land of Penguins has a special bonus parable where some of the birds end up drifting into Dire Straits. The Dire Straits have become a very familiar place for all of us since the recession. What advice do you have for a young bird in Dire Straits? Especially one struggling to pay off college loans?

The whole student loan thing has really put young birds in a tough position, with a financial albatross around their necks. Well, that's stretching the bird metaphor a little far, but you know what I mean. I recently re-read a book – an old book but worth re-reading every few years – that contains a lot of wisdom about how to build a secure financial future for yourself and how to have a great life in the process. The book is "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki. I would advise young birds (actually birds of all ages) to read the book and do what it says: 

(1) Learn the difference between an asset and a liability. 

(2) You'll never get ahead by working for money – you must learn how to make money work for you. 

(3) Find people who have what you want in terms of financial success, career, and lifestyle – then watch, learn, listen, and follow their example. 

(4) When you're young, work for experience, not for money. Internships are a great way to learn important lessons that are not taught in classrooms. The valuable lessons you learn working for smart, successful people are worth more than any paycheck. 

(5) Real estate and intellectual property are two great ways to make your money work for you. Writing books, making videos, creating podcasts, and developing other forms of intellectual property can all pay off many times over. And investing in real estate – especially in tough times like a recession – is the way most millionaires make their money. In short, the best way to get out from under student loan debt is to make your money work for you.

Photo 5

Vintage peacock earrings from "Lunch at the Ritz" -- these are probably two decades old!

Can you share some photos of your favorite peacock-themed possessions?

My car is my favorite peacock possession. I call it my Peacock-mobile!



The "Peacock-mobile," painted by North Carolina artist Mona Groban

Although, I also love this chair... I made it myself!  Rescued an old chair from a dumpster, painted it white, then decoupage the whole thing with cocktail napkins and peacock paper doilies my aunt gave me. It's my favorite chair in the whole house.

Peacock Chair