Louie And The Inverse Square Law

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Dakota hangs on Louie’s every word!

People process and communicate differently is a simple message I share every chance I get. I’ve learned over the years to value and appreciate those differences, especially through the lessons I’ve learned with Louie.

I’ve watched him with his new gal pals as he tries to figure them out. Dakota is the shy, quiet type. Claire is the adorable, but rambunctious puppy who will soon tower over him. And Jazz is statuesque with long legs and can body slam Lou in a heartbeat—all in fun, of course. With each encounter, I watch him size up the situation and process if it is time to play or time to run away. No matter what he decides, it is comical to watch him process.

Louie and I were doing our usual stroll through the neighborhood when he started charging at something. I am keenly aware of his “danger” signals but as I scoped the area, I saw nothing to merit such a strong reaction.

Finally I saw the object of his fear. He was charging a decorative black cat. It looked like a real cat and since it didn’t move even with a hound dog charging at it, it appeared to act like the cats in our neighborhood. I understood why Louie was concerned.

He walked away confused and kept looking back at the cat. He didn’t understand how it could look real but not be real. All the pieces of the puzzle did not seem to fit together. The next day he was walking with his buddy, Mick, who had the same reaction. Louie once again looked confused about a cat that wasn’t real but sure looked it.

While I tried to assure Lou that it was just a fake cat, and it would not pose any danger, my words fell on deaf ears. He had to figure it out himself to fully comprehend whether it was safe or not. We could certainly draw some comparisons between people who seem authentic but aren’t! But I thought of something else as I watched him—the inverse square law.

I struggled with math all my life, and by comparing myself to others who seemed to catch on quickly, I thought I was stupid (even typing the word makes me cringe). Yet I actually enjoyed Radiation Physics in college—at least by the end of the course. The sequence of events that led to my entering college for Radiology and Nuclear Medicine Sciences is fodder for another blog post. Foundational to understanding radiology is a theory called the inverse square law. Without getting too technical, it is the intensity of the X-ray beam being inversely proportional to the distance from the source; the intensity of radiation becomes weaker as it spreads out from the source. Technologists must account for the distance as they set up for the X-ray. I know photographers understand this theory as well.

I had a hard time understanding this concept. Like Louie, I was confused and could not make sense of this theory—the pieces of the puzzle did not fit. My professor, the very patient and compassionate Susan Weidman, continued to work with me through a long and arduous process. Finally, I looked at her and apologized for not getting the theory. Very matter-of-factly she said, “Don’t apologize to me. I am not the one who will fail the course if you don’t get this theory.”

It was as though the heavens parted, an angelic chorus filled the sky, and I finally saw the light—I finally understood the inverse square law. What made the difference? One little word: Failure. Failing the course was more painful than the hard work it was going to take to figure out this theory.

While Louie is a very quick learner, there are some things that do not make sense to him. He needs time to process. Humans also need time to process. Leader, if you are a quick processor, do you show impatience with others who don’t share your gift? Do you assume because you can click right through accounting formulas that others should as well? If you lead a team, does your body language show your disgust because someone can’t comprehend something that seems so obvious to you?

Disdain for those who are different than we are or who learn differently will kill a team, not to mention what it does to a child. Value the differences among people, be patient, and practice servant leadership by helping others. Your team will be much more healthy and productive.

As for Lou and the black cat…he’s counting down the days until Halloween is over.

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Claire thinks Lou is pretty amazing,
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The very regal-looking, award-winning Jazz, who can leap over Louie in a single bound!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click the image for information on how to order Louie's Leadership Lessons
Click the image for information on how to order Louie’s Leadership Lessons

Louie: The Hall Monitor—Feeling Safe

IMG_2290Louie’s relationship with my granddaughters is indescribable. The words, “Sissy’s coming,” barely pass my lips when he high tails it to the kitchen window and whines as he waits for his two “sissys” to make their appearances.

To say he loves them is an understatement. He adores them, and I think he feels responsible for their safety. So recently after the big welcome with hugs around his neck and sloppy dog kisses, we were in for a very fun evening at Nonna’s!

A few minutes into our time together, I received a text from my daughter letting me know she had forgotten to send the monitor. I replied, “No worries. Louie will be the hall monitor tonight.” I’m sure my daughter shook her head and smiled at the thought of Louie “monitoring” Mea and Evi.

There was a time when Louie had to stay in a pen so he would not rush the girls when they would “sneak” into my bedroom for our morning snuggles. Now, he sleeps on a nice, cushy bed on the floor next to mine. On this particular night, I decided to try something different. I kept the doors open so he could wander into their room and sleep. I even put his 1st floor bed next to their beds, just in case.

As we enjoyed movies and popcorn, Louie decided to crawl into his own bed in my room. He was fast asleep by the time the girls settled into their beds. After we read several books and exchanged hugs and kisses, I finally declared, “Time for everyone, Nonna included, to go to bed.” Sometime during the night, I woke up and looked over the edge of my bed to see that Louie was no longer in his sleeping area. Typically he is not a roamer—once he goes to bed, he stays in bed. So I knew exactly where he was. I tiptoed down the hallway to the girls’ room and there was my little buddy sound asleep on his bed on the floor right by Mea and Evi’s beds. They were sound asleep, no doubt feeling safe in Nonna’s home with their watch dog, Louie! I fell back to sleep until morning when all three little bodies entered my room, ready for their morning snuggles.

It wasn’t that long ago that Louie needed reassurance that my home was a safe place. Now, he ensures it is a safe place for his girls. Feeling safe is one of our greatest needs. This holds true in all areas of life. One of the greatest responsibilities leaders have is creating a safe environment where trust is cultivated, people respect each other, and boundaries are honored. When people feel safe, they are free to let their guard down, work harder and are more productive

Sadly, some leaders are more concerned with their images and what people think of them rather than they are about creating an environment of safety. This creates an unstable environment where people are guarded. Typically, employees don’t stay long in such a place.

Ask yourself, are you a safe leader? You might consider conducting a “safety inventory” of your organization and your relationships. Ask your colleagues, employees and friends if they consider you and your environment safe.

Louie’s role is to enjoy the safety of his home and to make sure his girls are safe when they are there. His peaceful demeanor indicates the need for safety was high on his list, right next to his need for love. And he gets plenty of that in our home!

Click the image for information on how to order Louie's Leadership Lessons
Click the image for information on how to order Louie’s Leadership Lessons

CONTACT: danise@di-advisors.com

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