Beware Your Own Pack

Honoring Your Wolf Pups Gifts

“A Champion is someone that has honored their gifts and fulfilled their potential”

Dr. Jeff Spencer

From The Desk of Wolf Pup #0

Chief Perspective Officer

Seattle Washington

Jan 9th 2023

Not only can Dr. Jeff Spencer be seen rocking a Wolf Pup #0 hat from time to time, but he is also one of the greatest mindset and performance coaches of all time. His secret? Help people honor their gifts and reach their full potential.

I was on a walk the other day when I realized that not only is it difficult to do, but the forces acting against us are often invisible.

Jasper and I are litter mates. That always surprises people because we look so different and have very different personalities. Jasper inherited most of his qualities from our mom; a 160lb arctic wolf. He's got the prey drive, the webbed feet, and likes to show his "mean teeth". Me? I'm more like our dad. He was just a big, blue-eyed Siberian husky.

I am curious about all things and have boundless energy. Jasper is interested in only things he can eat, things that might scratch his belly, and hogging all the pillows.

But when we go on our walks, I realized that even though Jasper demands to be slightly in front of me he will constantly look back and slow down if I slow down. I also realized that I will also speed up a little bit so as to not get too far behind.

Without even thinking about it, we are never more than a foot apart from each other. 

So we're walking and I’m thinking about testing this idea that I learned on Friday; I gently move a little to the left just a tiny bit to create distance between me and Jasper, without any prompting for anything like that, Jasper also moved to the left to close the distance.

And then I gently moved to the right and Jasper drifted with me, keeping about the same distance between us that he was used to.

Since then I've noticed: humans aren’t so different. Especially when they are in the presence of the people they have known the longest. It seems that they all have some hierarchy they are used to and some level they maintain relative to what they are used to.

Get with a group of close friends and try it: 

Raise your voice and notice how everyone else’s voice rises. Lower it and everyone else will lower theirs. Walk a little faster and everyone else will pick up their pace, slow it down and they will slow down to match your speed. 

There is a gap between you and them that they are used to and if it gets wider, they will try and close it. If you start to close it they will try and create distance.

And here is where it gets dangerous:

When they are not able or do not want to close the gap with their own behavior, they will try and close it by holding you back.

Like us Wolf Pups, humans also feel like they are part of a particular “pack” and will do everything within their power to prevent other “pack” members from creating distance from them. Sometimes, it makes sense. It's coming from a place of scarcity, to stay close to what is familiar is a survival instinct.

Good for those that just want to survive. Very bad for those that want to thrive. To grow means to create distance from where you are now, which will create distance between you and the people and things you know best.

Back to Friday. The question came up 

“Why don’t people fulfill their potential?”

Randy Massengale, in his infinite wisdom, responded: “The Two Tyrants of Leadership”.

Scrutiny and Expectation

First, the individuals with all the potential in the world that never realize it can’t get away from scrutiny from their own packs. Everyone around them is trying to prevent them from creating distance and they haven't developed the skill to disconnect, recharge and regain perspective.

Second, the expectations become overwhelming. It's not the expectations of strangers, but of your own “pack”. Your best friends, partners, and even family will criticize you for going to bed early instead of staying up with them like you used to. Or for working late into the weekends instead of watching movies with them like you used to.

Because they can sense that you are creating distance. 

And then, when you succeed, they will expect you to share the rewards of that early morning or late night work with them.

Because they can sense that you are creating distance.

...and since they are not willing to do what you are doing, they will first try and throttle you down to keep the distance from growing (scrutiny) and then, if you succeed, expect you to bring them up to close the distance.

And if we are not keenly aware of it, we can end up in a brutal spiral:

The scrutiny from our own pack is mentally exhausting, like swimming upstream.

The expectation of us to share the fruits of our labors can lead to us swimming upstream AND sharing the rewards.

Double the work, half the reward.

Worse, our “pack” is being rewarded for refusing to do the work. They complain, cause friction, and then reap benefits. It becomes a pretty gnarly, pavlovian spiral that will burn out any ambitious person or pup that fails to recognize it.

So how does one break the cycle?

Two cycle-breaking tricks to keep in the back pocket courtesy of Randy Massengale:

  1. The Invite.

  2. The Tank or the Trunk.

First, Randy says the key is to give people that are making problems for you an assignment. If they complain about your early Friday night bedtime, invite them to help you out with something at 5 am Saturday. If they complain about being at the office all weekend, invite them to come with you and jump into the work so you get it done faster. 

When you get resistance for working hard or being disciplined, just ask them if they want to join. If they say yes, great. If they refuse, great. Either way, you've given them a fair chance to close the gap themselves. If they choose not to, they forfeit their right to complain about it.

Second, when you run into friction you can either put it in the trunk of the tank. My notes from Randy’s explanation:

Everybody has something they have to overcome:

What extraordinary people understand is that your issues either go in your trunk and you carry them away and they weigh you down or it goes into your tank and you use it as fuel. 

The most extraordinary people have gone through some amazing catastrophe and they put in their tanks as fuel to do the next thing. 
They stop and put it in their trunk and then look back and let it weigh them down. People always remind me of things that I didn’t do right - they may use it without a doubt, but I can use it with confidence. 

You fail → goes into trunk → carry it around → because you’re carrying around your failure

The ones that succeed turn scrutiny and failure into fuel. 

I’ve met Nelson Mandela a few times and he was in law school getting A’s even when he was in prison on trial for treason. 

It’s not the “world” that is going to prevent you from stepping into your greatness. The world doesn't know you, they haven't decided how to position you yet. Your pack, on the other hand, will hold you back if you let them.

This is why we believe the Wolf Den is so important for all the Wolf Pup and Future Wolf Pup holders. When your pack struggles to let you grow, you have a Pack here in the Wolf Den that that "gets it" and will help accelerate the rate at which you create distance.

Pack is here for you.

Wolf Pup #0

Chief Perspective Officer