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Stop to Smell the Roses

I recently subscribed to my favorite whisperer Cesar Milan’s newsletter.  A lot of times after reading the various articles, I find really interesting parallels between his work with our canine companions and my own work with human beings.  After all, behavior is as behavior does, right?

In his last post, Cesar was talking about how you can’t fool dogs as they communicate and feel through the energy around them.  He points out that dogs have acute senses we could only dream about having and of course, they experience the world through their nose first, then eyes, and then ears.  That’s why dogs are so great at knowing when someone is at the front door (and going bananas when they hear the doorbell), why they can sense danger before we can, and why they will comfort us when we are sick or feeling down.  It’s no surprise then, that there are so many therapy dogs working with the disabled, with the elderly in nursing homes, and serving as eyes for the blind.  It’s human-canine synergy in action.

At our last HR Florida council meeting, we had a wonderful session on strategic communication led by Gina Potito, Managing Director of Drake, Beam & Morin, Inc. (DMB).  She presented DBM’s “I Speak Your Language®”, which discusses how people develop preferences that influence how they process information, make decisions and communicate with one another.  Those four styles are Intuitor, Feeler, Senser, and Thinker.   Everyone has all four styles within them, but no one uses a single style all the time, and each person tends to have a preference for one style over the others.

I couldn’t help but think that, at least from a behavioral perspective, humans are similar to canines in that we can intuitively project things, sense what is happening around us, feel the impact of those events on ourselves and others, yet still be pragmatic and remain on task.   We might not know it cognitively, but we do have senses of our own that we use every day.

Have you ever “smelled” that the time was right for a new idea or a change?  How often have you “just known” that something was off and that it was not a good time to engage?  Ever met a new person and instinctively believed that this person was not what he or she seemed?  Just like our canine friends, we too have a “nose” that can be an amazing asset.  That “nose” is the sum set of our experiences with people, our work and our environment – in other words, our “speak.”

Dogs can smell fear – they have a great read on the chemical changes that occur and are exuded when a human or another animal is scared.  People, too.  When I encounter a new situation, I pay attention to how the “pack” interacts with me and with each other.  From that, I can “smell” immediately if someone’s energy is off or if there is an undercurrent of stress and tension.  I’m a Feeler in that way.  I’m constantly focused on the pulse of a group and the impact of behavior (good or bad) on others and how they feel about that.

What I’ve also learned as a Feeler, though, is that we need to surround ourselves with calm and balance as much as possible.  We’re all busy trying to balance work and family or personal, professional, and volunteer lives that we don’t take the time to “smell” the roses or “sense” that our mental equilibrium is off.

If you find that your equilibrium is off, look within and see which of your four “senses” needs attention.  Do you need some reflective time or bust-a-gut exercise?  Do you need some heavy interaction with family or friends – or do you just need to get away for some alone time?

Fulfilling all of your needs is the only way to have a calm and balanced life that feels complete and whole.


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1 Comment

  1. Hi Heather,

    This is a very good article. After watching The Dog Whisperer over the years and reading Millan’s book, “Leader of the Pack,” I also could not help but notice the correlation to leadership in corporate America. You read my article, “The Dog Whisperer on Leadership,” on my blog at

    I will follow your blog now that I found you.

    Kevin Kennemer
    The Chief People Officer
    The People Group
    Tulsa, OK

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