Canary in a Coalmine” is more than a song recorded in 1980 by The Police. Of course, the lyrics of the song do hint at the meaning:

“First to fall over when the atmosphere is less than perfect…”

The canary was very important to the American heroes who labored the in the early days of coal mining. You see, a singing canary in a coal mine meant the air quality was good. A dead canary signaled that evacuation was necessary.

For the tough and rugged coal miners, these delicate yellow birds were a lifeline.

The canary is highly sensitive to traces of methane and carbon monoxide. A canary that detected carbon monoxide would sway noticeably before falling off the perch.

If the canary was chirping and singing, the workers could carry on without fear. If not, the warning was heeded immediately.

Even today, in election years, some states may be referred to as the “canary in the coal mine.” This refers to a political climate in that state which may signal the beginning of changes at the national level.

The point is that, whether you are working in a coal mine, watching the election process, or trying to live a life full of Irrefutable Success, you need a canary that can warn you of trouble ahead.

Here are three questions that can help:

1) Do you have a canary? Someone who can warn you if you get off track in your life or business? This could be an accountability partner, a friend, or a coach that will ask you the tough questions and help you to detect danger in the atmosphere.

2) Does this person know what to look out for in terms of your life, career, or area of responsibility? If not, make sure they are clear on both your goals, and your areas of weakness. They can only help you as much as you will let them.

3) If you don’t have that person in your life, why not? This may be a good time to check your “Why.”

Everyone faces challenges and goes through difficult and dangerous times. Without a canary, your first sign of trouble may come too late.