The pelican, more than any other bird, understands how powerful a group can be when they put their differences and disputes aside in order to reach a shared goal. If we want to be part of a group, we have to learn to cooperate with others in order to reach a shared objective.
The pelican is a bird that works with other birds in order to achieve a common goal. While the pelican is perfectly capable of catching fish on its own, during peak seasons, the pelican cooperates with others instead of going at it solo.
The important thing when it comes to group work is to bring people together whose skills and talents complement one another. Pelicans are not necessarily ‘leaders’ in the traditional and conventional sense. They are content to serve. They unselfishly offer their assistance to whoever needs it.
While selflessness is seen by many as a noble and admirable trait, sometimes we have to put ourselves first and take care of ourselves. For those who have a career in social work or in humanitarian pursuits, one of the challenges that they face is suffering from burnout.
Whenever we have a goal, it is easy to go after it thinking that we can’t stop until we get there. This can become a problem if we end up running on empty. There is nothing wrong with leaning on others when we need to. If we don’t, we experience burnout and are unable to cope when a crisis occurs.
Whenever a pelican shows up, it is asking you to pay attention to your own best interests. It is a warning not to sacrifice yourself for someone else, especially if that individual is simply not worth your time, effort and energy.
Since the pelican is a symbol of honesty in the midst of struggle, it is also reminding you to choose the righteous path and not the one that will lead you astray. We should pick a path that is in our favour and the results should indicate that we have made the right decision for the group as a whole.
The pelican only ever works with other birds to reach a common and shared goal that it cannot achieve by itself. As such, the pelican symbolises not only hard work, but also soft skills such as: listening to others and taking their viewpoints into account when making decisions. That, in itself, is a skill that leaders should aspire to if they hope to lead.