I was driving to get a Starbucks, surprise, surprise, and there was this very, very big dog standing in the middle of a busy road by my house, looking very terrified. Cars were going around him, and honking and he just stood there, looking very scared. No one was stopping to help him.
I almost drive to Starbucks, and then I realized that if I didn’t go back, he might be hurt or dead when I came back. So, I turned around, went back, and pulled into the driveway of the house that he was standing in front of. I called to him, and he galloped, not running, but galloped down to me, jumped up and put his front paws on my shoulders, and his head was towering over me. All I could see was this HUGE dog with a big mouth full of teeth standing over me. My heart was pounding and I am thinking that he could bite my face off with one bite. However, something inside said keep going, push through your fear and help this dog.
So, I said “lay down boy”, and he laid down, rolled over, feet in the air and wanted me to rub his stomach. WOW, I thought I am OK. I could see the electric fence collar and then his dog tags under that, but I needed my phone, so that I could call his owner. He was very happy laying down, so I opened the car door to get my phone and he jumped up in the seat, and it was like he was saying, “let’s go”!!! He finally got out of my car and I had my cell, so I could get to his dog tags, also still reminded of that big mouth and those big teeth, and still thinking that he could now bite my arm off. I saw that the house we were in front of was his house, so I opened the gate and let him in. He seemed so relieved that he was back, safe and sound in his own yard. We said our goodbyes, with a big wet kiss and a huge hand shake.
I called his owner, and left him a message. We traded messages, but he was very happy that I had put him back in the yard. They were out of town, and family was supposed to be watching him. He said that they would be over there more and taking care of him. However, if I saw him out of the yard again, to please put him back in. Over the next few days, there were many more cars parked in the driveway, so I knew that Muscle was being taken care of.
I did get to meet the owner and Muscle was so happy to see me and jumped up on me again, and this time I was not afraid, as he was the “gentle giant”. His owner was very happy that I had taken the time to stop and put him back in the yard, as his kids would have been devastated if something would have happened to him. I now stop and say hello to him and I know that he’s very glad to see me.
The morale of this story for me is that too often, the things that we fear, like this GIANT dog with big teeth, are really in our minds, and are not real. I know that when I am scared of something, I sometimes get paralyzed and won’t push myself through the fear. This time I did push myself, for Muscle, not me, and the outcome was GREAT. He, indeed, is the Gentle Giant!
My leadership lesson, and hope that you have learned something from me today, is that even when I am fearful, to keep pushing through it, and to get to the other side. That’s where the learning, the freedom and the rewards are waiting for us all. I have a new friend named Muscle and I am no longer going to be afraid of giants, or fearful of the unknown.
What about you? I would love to hear from you on your own “gentle giant” story or how you are working on handling fear. THANKS and remember….things are not always what we think!