Can you become a better leader and learn something from your pets?  Absolutely!  Shawna Schuh is an executive coach and expert in the pet industry.  She is also the founder of Women in the Pet Industry and is a Certified speaking Professional, and Master Neuro-Linguistic Practitioner. She also owns a horse boarding facility and lives in rural western Oregon with horses, dogs, and one old cat.  

Women in the Pet Industry Network was a passion project for Shawna where her mission was to unite women pet leaders worldwide. This is how I came to know Shawna personally and to call her a friend.  Sometimes I truly believe we were twins separated at birth we have so many common interests and beliefs.   

Shawna believes it’s leadership using the traits pets display that can rebuild our society. She created a talk that was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Her topic is What Pets Can Teach You About Leadership and that is exactly our focus in this program.  You can view her talk here.   

When you get a pet you become a leader.  They can teach us so much.  For example, pets are expert at living in the present.  They are thinking about what happened yesterday or worried about tomorrow.  They are enjoying everything that is happening right now!   

Here are some other important lessons:  

  1. Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.  
  1. Let it go – don’t hold on to attitudes or judgments.  
  1. Accept what is without rejection.  

We also know that pets are excellent salespeople.  When they want something, they are relentless – you can’t talk them out of their decision.  This applies whether they are trying to get their favorite toy or “encouraging” you to never stop petting them!   

In order to train a pet or lead a team at work, you need consistency.  This is true for lots of things.  If we are inconsistent, we get inconsistent results.  When we are consistent, we get consistent results.  I’m sure you know that your pets have done a really good job of training you, the pet parent.  They do this flawlessly because they are consistent in their approach to getting their way and they never, ever give up.   

You may also be familiar with the idea that we teach people (and pets) how to treat us.  When we set boundaries, treat others kindly, and expect good outcomes, our experience improves.  When we fail to set boundaries, are judgmental and expect negative outcomes, we generally have a negative experience.  This is consistent with the mantra of “thoughts become things, choose the good ones,” coined by author and entrepreneur Mike Dooley.   

If you want to become a better leader, take Shawna’s Leadership Quiz and discover your leadership blind spot!  You can reach Shawna Schuh here.   

For more information about how to protect your pet with a Pet Trust visit ACT4Pets.org.   

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