What My 4-Month-Old Puppy
Taught Me About Being Visible

we humans have so much to learn from nature and the animals—and not just when on safari. Settling into Santa Barbara life a bit more than usual, the time we’ve had with our four-month old puppy Lilly has been a constant inspiration.

Our daily walk with Lilly on the beach has become one of our favorite non-negotiables. Glenn and I have taken her about ten times thus far, and watching her adapt to the experience has been such a joy and rather fascinating.

Today was particularly momentous. It was Sunday, so there were quite a few extra people and dogs around. Thankfully Lilly has already overcome her initial shyness and now struts onto the sand like she’s the Mayor of Santa Barbara.

But while she might be confident working a crowd, Lilly is still fairly skittish when it comes to the ocean. And to play with a newfound crew of older, bigger dogs, today Lilly had to face her fear of the waves.

I couldn’t help but notice the dynamic, as the older dogs showed Lilly that it was okay (and even fun!) to be hit with a wave and go in the water. She dared to dip in a little bit and saw that she could take it, though by no means did she emerge unscathed—I saw what looked like a pretty rough nose dive, and one dog growled at her for getting in the way.

Just like in life, when you try something new, you won’t get it right every time. And when you dare to put yourself out there, not everyone will like you. At the same time, the good flows just as naturally when you choose to move past your fears and get in the game.

Could you imagine a world where all the big dogs were so jaded and bored of the beach and the ocean, that they’d just lay around on the sand all day? Who would show the little dogs how it’s done? Fortunately dogs don’t live in that world and while we might be prone to falling into it, humans don’t have to either.

So often we decide that what comes naturally to us isn’t of value, though it couldn’t be more essential to the cycle of life. We tell ourselves that our passions are selfish, that nobody needs what we have to offer and that everyone already knows whatever it is that we could teach them.
The truth is, there’s always someone new around who needs to see you doing what you’ve mastered, what you’re good at and what you care about. Moving through life from your place of play and joy is going to make the biggest difference, no matter what level you’re at.

To some extent, each of us is always a bit of the small dog and a bit of the big dog. Even those of us who’ve had a lot of success are still looking up to someone at that next level, and those of us who are just beginning have a lot to offer from taking the first step.

Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or an aspiring business owner, never forget that what you have inside of you is something only you can give. No one else has ever been through your life, so never stop showing the world who you really are.

You don’t have to be afraid of putting yourself out there. It’s always awkward before it’s elegant, as Lilly so adorably demonstrated. But you will get comfortable being uncomfortable, and if you stay in it, you’ll reach a new level you could never have imagined.

The only way to get there is to start giving your gifts. So if you’re a small dog, do not be afraid to network up, seek out mentorship and surround yourself with amazing people. If you’re a big dog, do the same. You both have something to learn, someone to inspire and the space to grow.

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