Three key lessons I’ve learned from adopting Jeffrey Hound, our newest rescue sighthound.
These lessons cross over into our lives and, I believe, especially when you’re starting a new role or job. You become a learner and you notice (or you should) everything!
What do I mean by that? Well, let me show you how Jeffrey has taught me lessons which I know will help you at work as you step up and go for new, more senior opportunities:
Work out who’s who in the zoo
You don’t have to overdo it but quickly work out who is an influencer, who’s going to keep an eye on you, who’s someone you want to be wary of and why. Like hounds, we’re reading body language and personal energy all the time.
It takes about three to six months to become ‘embedded’ and really see who’s who but whilst you’re doing that, you’re like a sponge. Soaking it all up and people give you the benefit of the doubt as you’re a newbie. It’s worth allowing that to be known and enjoy the time of getting to know you.
Jeffrey’s lesson was knowing that one of our hounds is super-friendly and the other not at all at first. He soon worked out who to hang out with and who to steer clear of until they’d built trust. As for me, I was Pack Leader on day one.
Dive in and be respectful of the order of things
OK so you’re getting to know everyone and the way things are done but be prepared to roll your sleeves up. As you put yourself forward to be involved it’s natural to be enthusiastic; watch how people respond to you. Do you represent a threat in any way? Are you a little too like ‘Tigger’? Most people are wary of change and you represent change. Tread lightly; be respectful as others adjust to you.
Jeffrey’s lesson was to assume he could eat, sleep, pee, shred anywhere and everything. He was quickly invited to consider things differently and has got used to how we do things. He watched everything and I still see him watching to work out if it’s a threat or an opportunity.
Be prepared to trip over but keep moving
If you misjudge something or don’t catch on as quickly as you hoped; make amends, apologise if you feel you need to, then dust off and keep going. You are becoming part of the new normal faster than you think but if it feels weird or you wonder how to do things and don’t want to keep asking, prepare to trip up but allow that to be OK. The learning curve is steep at first but it soon eases off as you become more familiar and embedded. Health warning. Avoid being complacent. Keep stretching yourself and learning, it keeps you nimble and gives you agility if and when you want to move again.
Jeffrey’s lesson has been bouncing up to other dogs assuming everyone’s a friend – they’re not. His speed has saved him from a nipped behind a few times. He’s more wary now. He’s also learned that shredding his Master’s favourite car magazine doesn’t go down well.
Finally, have fun: allow yourself to enjoy the ride; learning, fitting in, discovering what’s what and questioning things. When you’re new you’re able to look with fresh eyes and bring your own take on things. It’s truly enlivening to put yourself in the position of a learner or a newbie.
Who knows what adventures you’ll have, who you’ll meet along the way and how much of a difference you’ll be able to make? Only time will tell you that.
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