20 Unexpected Leadership Insights from Zuzu the Dog: Have Fun

The celebration continues! It’s been 20 years since I founded PeopleSense Consulting, and I’ve had the honor to receive inspiration from many wonderful people, experiences, and animals since.

This month, I’m celebrating by sharing 20 unexpected bits of leadership wisdom I’ve recently gained from my adopted dog Zuzu, a joyful (but sometimes challenging) presence in my life.

So welcome to Part 2 of the series! This week’s theme is…Have fun!

display exuberance like a dog

1. Display exuberance in what you love. When Zuzu greets someone–anyone–it is with every fiber of her body. Her tail and in fact, her whole body, swing fast and furious from side to side. The legs enthusiastically rise up to touch you and the tongue eagerly offers kisses.

She loves people and her display of affection leaves no doubt about it. Wouldn’t it be fun to always feel like you can show your excitement?
appreciate the little things like a dog
2. Appreciate the little things. Zuzu loves to find wonder in ordinary things in nature. She has snubbed expensive tools in lieu of a stick from the woods. No matter how small or simple, she finds pleasure in these little treasures.
Don’t take for granted things that are abundant and/or simple for they may be the finest of all.

a little excitement goes a long way with a dog

3. A little excitement goes a long way. There are many times during the day when Zuzu tells me that she has some energy to expend. I can get caught up thinking she needs an-hour-long walk.

But I’ve found that most of the time, having a 10-minute walk/sniff around the yard satisfies her. A change of scenery, even for a short bit, can do wonders to change our mindset.

show gratitude like zuzu the dog

4. Show gratitude. Above all, Zuzu is a happy soul. She moves from one activity or person with aplomb. Whether honoring a difficult request (she WILL sit and stay even when she doesn’t want to!) or running through the room with glee, she lets us know she is full of joy and gratitude for all she has.

Sometimes we all forget how meaningful a gesture of appreciation can be. But every day is a chance to put this into practice.
Work as a game for dogs and people
5. Turn work into a game! Our long-term goal is to have Zuzu reliably off-leash. It is a slow process for all of us, but what helps tremendously is to make a game that requires steps that will eventually lead to that success.
If she isn’t having fun, why would she continue to work with us on this? And if we aren’t having fun, we aren’t going to stick with the process. For now, we are thrilled to have her sprint off 20 feet in the tall grass, only to excitedly return to us when we call out: “COME!” Make your ‘chores’ into satisfying events and the outcomes you want will happen. 
Missed the first week about the beauty of being yourself? Click here!

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