Connect with us

Shawna Schuh

Are You Daring Yourself Enough as a Leader?

Published

on

Our lives of leading our companies, ourselves and our animals have many facets — like a diamond. Though I’m certainly not saying I have brilliance, I do have many facets. And as I’m sure is your case, too, some are brilliant and some are smudged.

Yet we have chosen to step out, step up, have a pet business and serve others.

But does that make us people who dare?

According to Helena Blavatsky, a Russian philosopher and author who lived in the 1800s, “The path that leadeth on is lighted by one fire — the light of daring burning in the heart. The more one dares, the more he shall obtain.”

A quote like that can get you thinking, or at least it can stop you in your tracks and ask, “Is that true? The more one dares, the more he shall obtain?”

How about if I lose? What if the economy dives? What if no one buys anything or needs my services?

Advertisement

And so it goes as a person who is building a business. We have good times and bad. We have abundance and scarcity. We have lots of help and sometimes feel so terribly alone. And yet, we continue.

I think that’s daring.

I think that’s living, and I think if you give yourself credit and begin to think of yourself as a leader, not simply a business owner or entrepreneur — and a daring one at that — many more doors will open to you.

So here is an acronym to help you continue to travel the “Path that leadeth on …”

D = Determination

A = Action

Advertisement

R = Responsibility

E = Enthusiasm

Those who are determined are those who will dare and dare again and not let obstacles get in the way. Determination means firmness of purpose. How determined are you to:

1. Become better?

2. Learn continually?

3. Do whatever it takes, even if you don’t yet know how?

Advertisement

From this day on, start to consider yourself determined.

Much has been written about action. You know what it is, what it means, but the bigger question is: Are you taking the right action? Some of my coaching clients get caught in making a to-do list or focusing more on tasks than results. What are you focused on? Are you taking right action? Dare to do so.

From an early age for some reason, I knew it was my responsibility to create my life. It was my responsibility to care for my animals. (I think it was being raised by two very focused and Depression-era parents who continually taught the lesson of responsibility.) Hence, I do clean up after myself, and I do take care of my things, and I am solely responsible to feed and clean up after my pets. When we come to the firm conclusion that the responsibility is ours, we can dare greatly because we know the cost and we usually know our strengths.

“He was fired with enthusiasm, because he wasn’t fired with enthusiasm! Is one of my favorite truisms.

A person can’t fake enthusiasm, it means: intense and eager enjoyment, interest, or approval. And the word that jumps out to me is “intense” — if you’re going to dare, then why not do it all the way?

To end, let me ask you again: Are you daring enough as a leader?

Shawna Schuh  is a certified speaking professional, an executive coach, master neuro linguistic programming practitioner and president of Women in the Pet Industry Network. Email her at shawna@womeninthepetindustry.com.


 This article originally appeared in the May 2018 edition of PETS+.  

Advertisement

FEATURED VIDEO

PETS+ Wellness Summit

Fuel Your Wellness Business at the PETS+ Wellness Summit

This October, PETS+ is hosting its first-ever education and buying summit, with a laser focus on one of the most exciting, fastest-growing areas of the pet business — wellness. The PETS+ Wellness Summit will be held Oct. 1-2 in Rosemont, IL, just outside Chicago and minutes away from O'Hare International Airport. Watch the video to see how you'll boost your wellness business at the event.

Learn more about the Summit and submit your FREE registration at petsplusmag.com/summit

Promoted Headlines

Shawna Schuh

 Pushing the Pig: Try It, and You’ll See Why It Doesn’t Work

Stop pushing…

Published

on

I’M THE KEEPER of a pig, the size of which is an interesting subject. Herbert the Hogster is a mini pig. And now that he is in his fifth year of life, though I have no scale to weigh him on, nor could I lift him to gauge it that way, it’s looking like he could weigh in at 150 pounds or more.

I share this with you because Herbert has taught me an important leadership lesson recently. He was in the house uninvited. Sometimes I invite him into my office, which has a door to the outside and stone floors for easy cleanup of dirty hooves, but he snuck through the barrier and into the main part of the house and was heading in the direction of the dog food when I spied him.

Podcast: Meet the Pet Product Entrepreneur Who Turned Down Shark Tank’s Investors
Behind the Pages

Podcast: Meet the Pet Product Entrepreneur Who Turned Down Shark Tank’s Investors

Podcast: How to Keep Your Millennial Employees Happy at Work
Behind the Pages

Podcast: How to Keep Your Millennial Employees Happy at Work

Podcast: How Pet Business Professionals Can Get More From Social Media Platforms
Podcasts

Podcast: How Pet Business Professionals Can Get More From Social Media Platforms

Immediately, I got behind him to push him back through the door and into the outside. He was having none of it. He planted his little hooves, and the more I pushed him, the more he grunted and squealed his displeasure.

That’s when I realized you can’t push a pig. Especially one that outweighs you.

This situation is like others we encounter where we want one result, and it seems nearly impossible to attain it by what we’re doing. Think about how you have sales goals — and because of those sales goals you do some pushing. And if you are feeling behind or overwhelmed, you might be pushing from behind. And nothing is happening.

Kinda like pushing a pig. No matter how hard you push, no matter how much you want to move forward, no matter how “nice” you are, that pig is not budging a bit.

So I stopped pushing.

I would like to say that I made this decision with a clear head and without using any off-colored words, but let’s suffice it to say after exhausting my strength and patience, I decided to take a different approach.

Do you quit pushing when the results are not there? Or do you keep at it because it’s the easiest thing to do or the thing we know? And do you notice that the harder you push the less you accomplish? This is true for so many things.

For me, it was my immediate reaction and that’s the real lesson. If I had stopped for a moment and thought about it, I had several other options that I could have done, including the one I did next: I went and got some pig food and put it in a pan so when I shook it, the sound made the most alluring and effective noise that Herbert wanted to follow. Which he did, right outside!

Next time before I — or you — push the pig, remember this lesson:

  • Think before reacting.
  • Determine the best plan or plans.
  • Lure rather the pressure.

Anytime things come to a standstill in your business, stop pushing the pig and do something else.

Continue Reading

Shawna Schuh

4 Steps to Pair with the Right Mentor

Tips for gaining the most from the experience.

Published

on

WHEN I WAS STARTING out in business, I sought both coaching and mentorship. When I paid for coaching, I gained value. When I sought mentorship, it usually fell flat, until I joined a structured program that had mentees and mentors go through an interview process. I happened to score a wonderful mentor, however another woman who went through the program found little value in her experience.
So to help you find a mentorship and to gain the most from it, here are the steps.

Podcast: Meet the Pet Product Entrepreneur Who Turned Down Shark Tank’s Investors
Behind the Pages

Podcast: Meet the Pet Product Entrepreneur Who Turned Down Shark Tank’s Investors

Podcast: How to Keep Your Millennial Employees Happy at Work
Behind the Pages

Podcast: How to Keep Your Millennial Employees Happy at Work

Podcast: How Pet Business Professionals Can Get More From Social Media Platforms
Podcasts

Podcast: How Pet Business Professionals Can Get More From Social Media Platforms

1. Have the right goal. The more you know and communicate what you want from a mentor, or what you want in seeking mentorship, the better. You don’t get results without stating what you want them to be.

2. Determine a time frame. When each of you knows what you are agreeing to, you can use your time more effectively. From the length of the mentorship to when and where and for how long you will meet. Treat this like any important appointment and respect each other’s time.

3. Be prepared. When someone has asked me to mentor or wants to learn from me, I usually ask them to come up with the top questions they want to ask. This throws people off, which is surprising. If you are going to use leaders’ time, then use it well. Asking them to tell you their story is a waste of their time. Get to what you want. If you do not know what you want, then you are not ready for a mentor yet.

4. Set clear expectations. Mentors are not your teachers, your parents nor your accountability police. They are guides, so seek their wisdom rather than their secrets or systems. If they choose to provide you with those things, it’s wonderful; however, ask questions that will help you move forward rather than expecting the mentor to give you a plan. You can even ask them how they would most like to provide guidance, and then you can adjust from there.

Most important of all, a mentor is someone who is willing to give you their most important asset: their time. And so the most important thing to remember is to use their time well, which in turn will be an excellent use of your time, too.

Continue Reading

Shawna Schuh

To Get to the Bottom of a Complaint, Pause, Smile and Ask

When a customer lies, it may not be for the reasons you think.

Published

on

THE RESTAURANT IS a favorite of mine. The food is good, and it’s fun and kinda funky. When we sat down to meet for this first date, I had no expectations. The conversation was fast and fun, and so we decided to order dinner. He ordered a burger and fries, me a salad.

When the food came, the female server set it down with a flourish, and it looked great. I barely had a moment to admire my salad when the man sitting opposite me said, “The fries are cold.”

The server was momentarily stunned but quickly recovered and said, “I’ll bring you new ones.” And she hightailed it out of there to have a word with the kitchen.

There was a pause, so I said, “I’m so sorry you got a bad order, this place is usually great.” Because, of course, I’m feeling bad for suggesting a place that, it turns out, serves cold food. What does that say about my taste and judgment?

Then he said, “No worries, the fries aren’t really cold. There’s just not enough, so now they’ll bring more.”

I blinked in stunned silence and then gathering my wits about me asked, “Do you do this often?” To which he said, “Only when I think I’ve been shorted on something.”

Think about this for a moment. Where do you land on the right or wrong of this exchange?

As a consumer, you might agree that if you feel shorted in service, or product, or value, it’s within your rights to complain or ask … but to lie?

As a business owner, you may feel outraged and taken advantage of by a customer who is clearly misleading you or your team for additional gain.

Here’s my take from a leadership standpoint:

  • Pause to take a breath. This can allow you to get emotions in check.
  • Smile. This may be forced — after all, they are bringing up a complaint.
  • Ask a question. This is the best thing however only if it’s a question that still makes the customer feel in control (rather than wrong), and it clarifies the real issue.

The example in this instance may have been that the server could have paused, smiled and asked, “Do you want me to replace them?”

Since the answer is most likely yes, then take the whole meal away.

If you get pushback — “It’s OK, just bring me more fries” — this is when you know the real intent behind the comment, and you can say, “If the fries (or whatever the complaint is) are not to your liking, we must check your whole meal so you are completely satisfied.”

If you have a pet business, you’re not selling fries, of course. However, you do have some customers who are hard to satisfy, and they can surprise you or take advantage of you, all the while feeling justified in doing so. Luckily, the same techniques will work: Pause, smile, ask a question.

Think about and discuss with your team the kinds of questions that are able to get to the bottom of the issue (or customer intent) without making the customer feel wrong.

For me, I learned several things that evening, the most important being to put myself in the position of both the customer and the business owner. If all of us did that more, maybe the experience for everyone would be better.

Continue Reading

Most Popular