George the Beaver

Camping in Vermont this past August, my family and I discovered a beaver living just 100 feet down-river from our site. On day two we named him George because he swam in very close to our dock to smell and listen to us. Not long after, he smacked his tail and dove underwater. I shifted from “Awwwww, cute,” to a nervous, “heh, heh,” when I realized that I had no idea how beavers behave when they feel threatened. “Is 100 feet too close?” “Is the tail smack a signal that he is about to run out of the water, teeth bared, claws extended, ready to attack?” “Can a beaver run faster than a 10-year old boy?”

I wrestled with some feelings of shame after boasting that I was going camping. I’m really just a city girl who knows more about getting from City Hall to the Upper West Side on the subway at rush hour than I do about the rhythms of nature. And it occurred to me that growth is like that. Whether you are growing your team or business, just got a promotion, or are working to be a more effective leader, it’s often not what you thought it would be. You are disoriented. You need time to learn new rhythms. You may feel some shame that you don’t know what you’re doing.  All of that is normal.

In the end, I learned that George was in fact signaling to his buddies that we were in their space. And that his normal behavior was a good thing because it meant he wasn’t rabid(!) I managed my disaster fears and was amazed by how quickly I learned his rhythms. I even got the attached photo of him doing his morning swim.

If you are experiencing change (and we all are these days), know that some wobble goes along with growth and change, for you and for your team. If you want to have a quick chat about change and growth, click here.

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