Loving my dog is a radical act for me. I know this may sound ridiculous. But the definition of radical is “change relating to the fundamental nature of something” – having a dog in my home definitely went against my fundamental nature. I actively and emphatically didn’t like dogs. I’d even say I was a bit afraid of them.
And then (during the pandemic, of course) I told my kids we could get a puppy. I even convinced my husband to get on board, despite his initial resistance (we all embrace change at different speeds).
So we rescued Blueberry. And yes, that’s her actual name, care of the kiddos and her heterochromia one blue eye.
But what does loving my dog have to do with leadership development?
(Sidenote, welcome to a sneak peak inside my brain, which is ALWAYS seeing connections, lol)
I often work with leaders who are trying to transform long broken and complicated systems, like public education. Or solve complicated problems, like restoring broken trust and building inclusive teams.
It takes persistence and dedication to work towards real systemic change, particularly in long-standing stuck systems.
As a leader, we must be able to pivot when something isn’t working. To try something new, or learn another approach when the one we’ve been using isn’t effective. We have to question our own assumptions, think beyond our patterns, and open up to previously unknown possibilities.
Ultimately, sometimes we need to be able to change our minds. To evolve. To grow.
Enter my relationship with Blueberry (who is asleep on my office floor as I write this).
I had to be curious, open-minded, and willing to expand the way I see things in order to even consider having a (furry, smelly, needy) dog enter our family. All traits that I challenge my school principals and coaching clients to explore and embrace in their leadership.
I fundamentally believe that human beings can change for the better. And that, in fact, we must change if we’re going to see radical shifts in health, wellbeing, joy, and opportunity for all.
So maybe it sounds like a leap to go from loving my dog to believing that we can transform broken systems… but it’s not. I truly didn’t believe that it was possible for me to love a dog (like, at all.)
But we can change our fixed and stale beliefs. Thank goodness!
- How would you lead differently if you were more curious and willing to change your mind?
- What would be possible for you, your work, your organization if you were more open to a “radical” change?
Blueberry and I want to know.
Thank you for taking the time to be in this conversation with me.
I appreciate every one of you.
With courage, curiosity, and the endless pursuit of true connection,
P.S. If you (or your organization) are interested, here are 3 ways that I can help. Please email me with any inquiries.
- “Communication for Connection: The Untaught Piece to Success and Wellbeing” Keynote speaking on campuses, conferences, and companies.
- Leadership coaching that supports you in leveraging your strengths and building your capacity. (companies often sponsor leaders to participate)
- Team training and development that builds trust and connection, leveraging Emotional Intelligence.