If you’re a pet lover and a fan of great leadership, this is for you!

Last December I lost my 10-year-old dog Brody to Cancer.  It was a swift and painful three weeks from diagnosis to goodbye.  Canela, Brody’s younger sister, and I were left numb and empty.

One evening, I went online to the local pet rescue — more out of curiosity than anything else.  I wasn’t ready to adopt.  I was just trying to see what was out there in the rescue adoption market.

Fast forward—I welcomed Sammy (on right)… a lively 5-month-old lab mix into our lies.  Ornery, playful, and an excellent cuddler – Sammy is a fast learner because of his new role model, his big sister.  From outdoor rituals to conquering stairs, jumping off beds and couches, and hopping into cars, he mimicked her actions.  He watched and learned….super fast.

Reflecting on Sam’s one-month journey marked by a remarkable 15-pound growth spurt, the simplicity of his learning process is fascinating to watch. His relentless curiosity and keen observation turn missteps into lessons.

It’s about having someone with life experience to guide.

Don’t we ALL need quality, experienced role models to look up to and to learn from?  And when we do, it is astonishing how it accelerates our growth.

We work with so many clients who have challenges.  From navigating drama-filled teams, navigating not-so-healthy cultures, and helping new leaders gain traction in their newly promoted executive roles.  There is a common thread.

They don’t have a role model.

What unfolded was my fascinating observation of leadership dynamics…from a frickin’ dog acting as a leader to a curious puppy.  It wasn’t my training attempts that helped Sammy advance his canine skills, it was the influence of my 6-year-old pooch, Canela, his new big sister and role model.

He was curious.  He watched and learned.

It struck me—this pup was onto something profound.

Isn’t our need for role models universal?

So, where have all the role models gone in our quest to become stronger?

Sam’s daily escapades underscore the importance of having mentors—individuals who’ve weathered life’s storms, distinguishing right from wrong. As he explores, falls, and bumps into things, there’s wisdom in seeking guidance from those who’ve already charted the path.

He makes mistakes without judgement.

Who is your role model? What pearls of wisdom have you gathered lately? How have you accelerated your journey by not attempting to unravel it alone but by having someone to emulate, show you the ropes, and then learn the nuances of what is acceptable and achievable?

In the tapestry of leadership, lessons from a puppy’s curiosity and a seasoned pup’s guidance create a narrative of growth, resilience, and the invaluable art of learning from those who have tread the path before us.

Who looks up to you as a role model?