I have two
dogs who provide me with endless hours of amusement. My dogs are different
breeds, one is a German Shorthaired Pointer and the other an English Springer
Spaniel.  And whilst their breed types
will drive some of their behaviour, they also have their own unique
personalities. The other day I began to consider how there are many
similarities between them and how we also strive to achieve our potential too.

CIMG1056

 

 

Zara, the
pointer lives for the joy of running and eating.  Arriving at the woods, her nose is up in the
air trying to find the scent of any fur or feathered creature that she can
chase, and she is in her element racing around, covering the ground at a speedy
pace eager to soak up all the smells. 
She strives to fulfil her potential every day and as long as she gets a
nice long walk with the opportunity to run around, and then get plenty to eat
at home, then she is a happy dog.

 

Inca, by
contrast is a people pleaser.   She loves
to walk beside me, wagging her tail and sniffing around, but always keeping me
in sight.  If another dog appears, she is
either scared (mostly) or brave if they are smaller than she is!   Then at the end of the walk, she still wants
to gaze into my eyes and wag her tail – in the hope of getting a dog treat of
course!

 

Living with
Zara is risky though. I have lost count of the number of times we have been to
the vet to heal wounds caused by zealously racing at top speed through barbed
wire fences or thick jagged bushes.  
Often she meets us back at the car park, having spent the entire walk
rushing about chasing things, and I wonder if she will ever appear.

 

Recently,
she had a problem with one of her legs, and she was limping, so off we went to
the vet – again.  After being examined,
the vet suggested that it was likely to be tendonitis, and that the best
treatment was for her to be kept on the lead.  
Now whilst this may be a logical solution to the problem, it did leave
me wondering if it really was the optimum outcome for a dog that lives to
run?  I began to imagine her resigned to
a life of walking on the lead beside me, knowing that her real passion was not
being fulfilled.  What if she could never
know the joy again of running free in the fresh air?

 

How many of
us as humans tend to live life on the lead? 
Do we settle for comfort and safety over testing our capabilities to the
limit?

 

In my work
as an executive coach, I come across so many people that limit themselves
either through fear or lack of awareness that they have choice.   Imagine what you might achieve if you
occasionally let yourself off the lead, free to run about and follow your
instincts and live your life to the full.  
There might be risks associated with doing so, but maybe the benefits outweigh the possible downsides?  Or maybe you
choose to be like Inca – to please others, to remain loyal and obedient, and to
gain satisfaction from knowing you are safe and secure and will be fed every
day.  Whilst Inca also walks off the
lead, she does not see the need to rush off on her own, and remains happy to
keep me in her sights.

 

Think about
how you live your life.  Are you
consciously making the choices that are right for you?  Or are you resigning yourself to a life on
the lead – with no idea of how it could be, if only you were courageous enough
to take that step……..