20 Unexpected Leadership Insights from Zuzu the Dog: Be Yourself

This September marks the 20th year of PeopleSense Consulting! It seems fitting to celebrate with a bit of animal wisdom, inspired by my adopted dog Zuzu, who has enough exuberance for all of us!
So this month, I’ll take you through 20 unexpected insights this small but mighty dog has brought to my life (in a whirlwind!) For this week the theme is: Be Yourself!

Dog living in the present1. Live in the present. Whether Zuzu is chasing a ball or napping, she does it with total concentration and focus. Oh, please, could I be more like Zuzu in this regard?

Far too often, we are so busy thinking or worrying about what should have been (or what will be) that we miss the moment we are currently in. When we bring our full attention, whether to the email we are writing or the person we are speaking with, we get to enjoy all the nuances and richness of the experience.


2. Follow your nose (instincts) even if you don’t know where it will lead you. When Zuzu gets a scent, she is oblivious to everything else in the world. She is singularly focused on following herdog following nose instincts and listening to her body—something we humans could benefit from. Being truly aware of the signals we feel (or hear or smell) can offer a whole level of insight we rarely notice or act on.

Don't be afraid to talk3. Don’t be afraid to talk when you have something to say. Zuzu uses her bark at two key times. First when she is unhappy with what we’ve asked her to do (like sit when she wants to run). And second, when she is sounding the alarm (maybe a deer in the yard). It can be a piercing sound and she wants it that way! For those of us who may sit back and be hesitant to speak up at important times, Zuzu reminds us that every voice is important.

4. Be yourself, even if it means that not everyone will like what you do or say. As you might imagine, there are times when Zuzu is frankly…annoying. Barking (talking) too much or at the wrong time isn’t always an attractive trait. However, she isn’t looking for approval. She’s looking to expressbe yourself herself, authentically. That is something I admire greatly about Zuzu, even when she is driving me crazy! We could all do a better job of making sure our words and actions reflect our true selves.

pursue new experiences 5. Pursue new experiences even if they might scare you. Zuzu is a curious girl. She uses her keen senses to actively explore her surroundings. I never knew she could jump so high as when a frog scared her by moving just slightly into her path! The momentary jolt was just that – momentary. Back she went to figure out this frog immediately. If as humans, we didn’t move past our comfort zones, we would never learn and grow. It’s when we pursue unfamiliar experiences, that we discover new things we might love and enjoy.

Want to hear more about my adventures with Zuzu? Click here!

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