Going off-leash

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In honor of the fact that today marks 2 years since I’ve gotten my puppy (yes, I’m one of those people who calls every dog a puppy, no matter how old it is!), I’m going to tell a little story:

When we first got Leo, we lived in a house with no fenced-in yard. We were first time dog-owners so weren’t quite comfortable with setting up an invisible or in-ground fence yet, either. So whenever the dog needed to go outside to do his business, we would just take him out there on his leash. Rain or shine. Snow or sleet. If Leo needed to go outside, we both went out.

Flash forward a year or so.

We’ve since moved and now have a yard with a fence. When we first moved in, it was like, “This is great! Now I don’t have to go out in the snow, rain or sleet when the dog needs to go out!”

Or so I thought.

See, Leo had gotten used to having us with him when he needed to go do his thing. And the fact that we now had a fence didn’t mean he wanted that to stop.

He needed moral support, I think.

Now, sure, we’ve been in this new house with a fence for a little more than a year and he doesn’t always need us to go out with him. But every once in a while…

And so I was thinking about this the other day when we were having a bout of “I’m not walking off the deck unless you get out here too, no matter how bad I’ve got to go.” stubbornness when it occurred to me:

Isn’t this just like a lot of young people these days?

Now, stay with me here. I’m not saying young people need help going to the bathroom. What I’m saying is that a lot of young people have gotten so used to constant support – from parents, teachers, friends, coaches – that the minute they’re given free reign to do what they want or try things out for themselves, they get hesitant.

My generation – Millennials – gets dinged for this a lot. They all got participation trophies. They’ve got helicopter parents. They don’t know how to take initiative. I get it. We’re used to constant support. We’re used to being told what to do and how to do it. We’re used to a pat on the back when we’ve done well. And that’s not always realistic in the business world.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a middle ground.

I believe that both young people heading out on their own and the supervisors/managers they’ll eventually work for can take a lesson from Leo, such as:

  • It can take some time to get used to being on your own and “being off the leash”, so to speak. Take as much time as you need.
  • Sometimes, you’ve just got to do things by yourself. That doesn’t mean that someone won’t be keeping an eye on you from the window to make sure you’ll be okay.
  • Find some friends. Leo loves going outside with his friend Bailey (my sister’s maltese poodle) and couldn’t care less if I’m around. Sometimes venturing out into the unknown is a lot easier with a buddy by your side.

So with that, go forth and venture off the leash in some area of your life today! (And, if you’ve got the chance, go snuggle a puppy for good measure.)

 

 

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