Be Leo, Not Little (Another Kind of Bunny Story)

Harmony the Bunz was a great bunny. My daughter held her almost constantly for five years, and this caused her to be affectionate and docile.

But she was getting old. And lonely. So we decided to get a new bunny.

We chose a little white one with pink eyes around Easter time, and we named her Little.

It took a long time for Harmony and Little to get along. We were shocked when Harmony chased her and try to mount her. Little would run away as fast as her tiny white feet would take her.

We kept them in separate cages for weeks, and even when they got along, it was clear that Harmony was The Bunz in Charge.

Little spent a lot of time running away.

A year went by, and Little got big -- weighing twice as much as Harmony -- but still, Harmony was dominant. We thought this was the natural order of things -- she was older and had lived with us first.

And then we got another bunny. We called her LeoNeda Ulaby, after our favorite NPR reporter, and from the beginning, she dealt with Harmony's domineering nature in a completely different way.

Instead of running like Little always did, she actually approached Harmony first. She would walk right up to her, put her head beneath Harmony's chin, and basically say, "We're going to be friends."

It worked.

They are inseparable now. They sleep together, eat together, even mirror each other in bathing and grooming activities.

Little is much bigger than either of them and she's still skittish.

It got me thinking about dominance. My daughter is 15 now, and I've noticed that when it comes to cliques and bullies and mean girl behavior, most of the girls at her school take the Little approach.

Just yesterday, a girl was excluded from an activity, and no one spoke up. They were afraid they'd be excluded next time. The irony is that a girl's silence in the face of bullying may actually lead to her being the victim of the bully in the future.

I also see this in the writing clients in my practice. Much of what I teach them has to do with overcoming the fear of what I now call Being Leo.

When we send our work out into the world in a fearful and skittish way and basically run away, we are sending signals that we are not ready. Not ready to work with an editor in a timely way, maybe, or not ready to deal with feedback. Or simply not ready to be published.

When we approach an editor like Leo, we are respectful. We do the human equivalent of putting our head down and saying, "Let's get along."

And this creates success. A sense of teamwork. A collaborative energy that leads to building trust and future connections.

Being Leo can be helpful in our personal lives, too. When you've had an argument or misunderstanding, Being Little will only prolong it. Being Leo will lead to reunion.

Sometimes we run from what scares us only to have our timidity create the actual conditions that we fear.

Be Leo, not Little. Approach. Respect. Claim equality.

And watch as Harmony becomes your constant companion.