What does a dog have to do with leadership?
Life is complicated. Or rather, we make life complicated. As a leadership coach, I am keenly aware that self-awareness is not only critical to emotional intelligence, but to success and happiness. It allows us to see how we get in our own way.
One morning, stressed out and rushing to squeeze in a walk with Gus before another client call, I was feeling overwhelmed and tired. I left a corporate job years ago to create more work life harmony and I had somehow worked my way back into a crazy and hectic work schedule. How could I be back here so soon and this time, with no one to blame but me?
As I rolled through this inner dialogue, I took a quick look at my sweet Goldendoodle, Gus. Gus is the canine version of Buddy the Elf. Always happy, friendly, a lover of all people and things equally. We have a saying in our family when we are living our best life, we say we are “Living Like Gus.”
As I watched Gus parading around excitedly creating a new adventure with every furry paw step, it became very apparent that he was enjoying our “in the moment” time much more than me. He was fully present – exploring new things, strutting around confidently and certainly not beating himself up for any decisions he had made in the past or wasting time wondering “why did I do that?”.
I started to wonder, if I slowed down, in what other ways could I learn from Gus by merely observing his behaviors? What other things are going on around us every day that could easily represent simple lessons in how we need to lead ourselves during challenging times? Making this connection and developing a creative lens to view leadership seemed like a lot of fun. Those who know me are aware that fun is one of my core values and an important part of the way I engage clients and do business at The Leadership Bridge.
I’ve always maintained that simple strategies are best in leadership development. Simple strategies are focused and memorable. Dogs are the epitome of living simple lives. I plan to continue to watch Gus and make any connections that could be unique and helpful to journeys in leadership and in life.
So, from time to time, you might read a reference about #LivinLikeGus to help us remember that leadership can be simple, even when it isn’t easy. I believe Gus would agree with me: Simple strategies can get you great results. We should all live like Gus a little more in my humble opinion.