I waited over 40 years to get a dog. I must have nagged my parents to death when I was growing up! They tried everything – getting us a cat, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, budgies – they even paid for me to have horse riding lessons. But all I ever wanted was a dog.
When I left home and embarked on the world of work it didn’t seem fair to get a dog and leave him at home all day on his own but it never left my mind and when I started working for myself it was one of my major goals.
So last summer the time finally came and we visited Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary to choose our new pal. Or should that be, he chose us – I’m told that’s how it often happens. It was upsetting to see so many sad dogs in the kennels but Pablo stood out for us – he was cheeky and affectionate and we couldn’t wait to meet him. The staff were fantastic and gave us lots of information and tips – at the same time they were at pains to warn us how ‘hyper’ and energetic he was and how much work it would take to train him – but we weren’t put off. 2 weeks later, home check and vet check complete we were able to bring him home.
Were the staff right? You bet. Pablo was a handful right from the start and we had to be very firm implementing rules, guidelines and boundaries for how we wanted him to behave in our home. He’s still a pup really being just over a year old so it took him a while to get with the programme but we were patient and after a couple of weeks we were finally starting to see some improvements in his behaviour in the home.
Outside of the house was another matter. He was anxious and vocal around other dogs and 6 months in this is still something we are working on. I spent so much time beating myself up those first couple of months, I was supposed to be experienced in training and coaching so why couldn’t I get him to change his behaviour?? I soon learned from others that it wasn’t just our dog that struggled around other dogs and it was going to take time and a whole lot of patience to help him to be better around other dogs. Is he worth it??! Oh yes, he’s an amazing dog in every other respect and we love him to bits and could not imagine life without him.
Who would have thought it would be a dog that taught me the most valuable leadership lesson of all?? I thought that my strengths of passion and persistence were enough to drive change, but I’ve now realised that the 3rd P of patience is perhaps the most important.
Since starting my own business almost 2 years ago I’ve had to be patient for all kinds of reasons – patience waiting for clients to make a decision, patience waiting to see improvements in performance with clients, patience waiting for people to pay invoices… the list goes on. It was never something which came natural to me as I’ve always been so driven to succeed and given myself a hard time if I didn’t achieve things fast enough.
Looking back over the last 10 years, there are many times I’ve had to be patient with both my own personal development as well as the development of others. Sustainable change does not happen over night and we just have to be realistic and accept that bold moves take time and it’s about making small steps in the right direction towards the person we want to become.
Well that’s how it’s been for me anyway. So, in the words of my all time favourite band – ‘Have a little Patience’ when making your bold moves.
If you need help developing your patience, why not try my Courageous Coaching programme? [link to Coaching page]