One of my favorite concepts from Dana and I's puppy training research is how dogs pick up on our energy.
When we're concerned or frustrated, they mirror us, and we create the situation that we're trying to avoid. For example, when the puppy is excited and you use a loud voice to try asserting power, the puppy gets more energetic. It picks up on your heightened energy and matches it. Instead, if you remain calm and still, it will eventually settle. Cesar Millan, a famous and fairly controversial dog trainer, uses the term "calm confidence" to refer to this energy.
I appreciate the sense of ownership this concept inspires, not pointing at the dog critiquing its behavior, but looking at ourselves and what we can do to create change. It is a metaphor for so many things in life; however, it hit home for me recently as related to meeting engagement.
There are meetings during a stressful project or centered on an uncomfortable topic (like 3-2-1 Growth) where I'm inclined to enter the conversation assuming the worst, aka low-to-no engagement or tension. Taking a deep breath and leading the meeting with the energy I want to create while expecting the best has proven to pay off.
Dog or human, my gut tells me there's a lot to learn when we realize we're all mirrors.
This post originally appeared in Edition No. 081 of my newsletter. Subscribe here.