She choked on the words. Twenty chickens. Gone.

Just a couple of weeks earlier our neighbor was bursting with excitement as she moved her 25 grown chicks to their new coop at her house. They were young and finally out of the ugly stage and her first animal addition to her budding mini-farm. Having just moved into her newly constructed house with acreage a few months before, her family hadn’t noticed any roaming predatory animals. So the thought to secure the door to their 98%-percent-complete chicken coop beyond to keep the chickens in was passed off. Then they woke up to see their meager door lock pushed away and only five chickens left. Coyotes.

As I heard her tell the story, I thought about all the times I fall into a false sense of security just because I don’t see any preying forces around. That’s when I stop working as hard. I stop doing my best to protect my interests – my employees, clients, talents. Then … wham! Something happens to rock the contentment and make me wish I hadn’t slacked off.

The next time I am tempted to ease off because I haven’t seen any threats, I’m going to remember her choked words. Twenty chickens. Gone.