There are days that I am simply amazed by the level of trust that my dogs seem to place in their humans. On a regular basis, my lab Jake will lie next to a rocking chair in our house with his paws, his tail, or even his head under the bottom rail of the rocking chair while someone is sitting in it. One careless forward rock could be a seriously crushing blow. I don’t think he does this because he’s stupid, I think it’s because he trusts us not to hurt him. Why shouldn’t he? We’ve never given him any reason not to trust us completely.
Since Jake was a puppy, life has been nothing but good. He’s never been hit, never left out in the cold, and never gone without food. He’s never had any reason not to trust. That’s not always the case with dogs. We adopted our last dog, Max, at the age of three. We were his third home and it’s pretty clear that he was abused early in life. He never completely trusted us. Max would cringe when anyone picked up a broom, a rolled up newspaper or a vacuum. He almost never let people touch his stomach, and he sometime growled when people make sudden movements around him. Kids made him especially nervous with their unpredictable behavior. In every other way he was a great dog, but it made me sad that this beautiful golden retriever had learned not to trust his humans. Jake is so different, his gentleness and trust know no boundaries. He’d willingly let a 2 year old use him as a jungle gym or take food out of his mouth.
Complete trust. It’s a beautiful thing. And so rare. Imagine how different life would be — and how much more connection might be possible — if we humans could always be so simply gentle and trusting with each other.
Recently I blogged about the three words I’ve chosen for 2013. Today, a little more about the WHY behind those words…
One of my three words for is possibility. That’s because this year feels just brimming with possibility – new opportunities, new learning and new things to explore. A new leader at work, my new business, my upcoming leadership program, new friends, new colleagues, and new goals. I’m trying to step up to something bigger – and outside my comfort zone, maybe something I’ve not yet even discovered. Evolution is a long slow process, but it feels like there’s a big shift just over the horizon as I evolve and let go of old things that aren’t working and embrace the new. Though my coaching, I’m also helping others test the limits of what is possible for them – running a first marathon or racing for the first time. And that is incredibly cool to watch.
Another is courage. For me, that’s a combination of several things, including being willing to take more risk and allow myself to be more vulnerable. My default is to think things through in detail and proceed carefully and cautiously so as to maximize the chances that I will succeed. In 2013, I’m trying to let that go a little. To trust in a way that lets me forge deeper connections with people. To have the courage to listen to my heart and not my head – go with my instincts and see where that will take me. To embrace mistakes and the risk of failure and hope that in doing so, I might exceed my own expectations. And at worst, things will be ok. Courage is here too because 2013 will require me to navigate a high ropes course. And I don’t even like ladders!
And my third word is play. Just because sometimes I need to quit being so damn serious and logical about everything.
Photo by Greg