Dogs don’t wait at open gates…
We don’t have a gate at my home. We have a beautiful greenbelt behind us, and due to the uneven slope, it’s impossible to have a regular wooden gate. My friends tell me that electric fence works well for dogs. They obviously don’t own a Jack Russell terrier.
My JRT (aka the Jack Russell) is named Captain Jack for a reason. During his nearly 6 years with us, he has encountered open doors rather than gates. He has made the most of these opportunities to dash out. An open gate to a dog means new adventures, new smells, and boundless fun. All dogs are wired the same for this. Can you imagine a dog approaching a gate that is left far enough ajar for him to make a break for it – pause deeply – consider the consequences of his actions – and sit silently contemplating if the move has enough upside to run through it? Me neither.
That’s exactly what many executives do on a daily basis. They see a wide-open opportunity out beyond a “gate.” That opportunity looks enticing and full of opportunity; yet it also involves risk. They make an initial sprint to the edge of the gate to get a better look, and then stop to pause and ponder. “What if things go wrong?” “What if I get hurt?” “What if I get lost?” “What if I get blamed?”
The problem is that while they sit and wait, opportunity at that moment is either lost forever or (worse) taken by someone else.
I’m pretty sure that if Captain Jack had an electric fence, he would know the ramifications of breaching that barrier. He’s smart that way. Based on my experience with him, he would take the pain to gain the reward. The shock and pain is short-lived and not fatal. The reward is forever (or until I wear both of us out tracking him down). But even then he would have gained through this new adventure and surely risk the open gate again.
You will likely tell me we aren’t dogs and that risk needs to be contemplated, assessed, and prudent. Yawn. At some point you burst through open gates to where you are now. Unfortunately as we age we get more tethered to the yard. Comfort and fear keep us from taking the still smart risks we took before when we weren’t as careful. Don’t turn into an old dog, no matter what your biological age. That actually carries more risk than the alternative.
That’s part of the concept of being “unleashed.” Don’t get caught inside the gate staring wistfully out at opportunity. Life is short and our professional careers even shorter.
What’s out there waiting for you?
© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved