Cesar Millan leads a training group.
Photo by Neal Tyler

Last weekend, I was honored to attend the graduation ceremony for my latest Training Cesar’s Way course, and was bowled over by what the graduates did for me.

Not only did they present me with a beautiful, signed potted plant that’s as tall as I am, they managed to choreograph and learn an entire dance routine in one night, and they performed it at the final dinner.

But there’s something else that this group and all the other Training Cesar’s Way graduates have given me that’s even better.

All Dog Packs Have a Theme

Each of them has taught me that all packs have their own “theme” that seems to develop spontaneously. One group was very emotional, while another was incredibly giving. Another group that I think of as dreamers came in hopes of changing their own lives (many of them successfully), and yet another, the seekers, were very hopeful for the outcome with an eye on helping and changing the lives of others.

Groups Vs Packs

Not all groups develop personalities like this because not all groups become packs, whether or not they come together for a common purpose. Think about the audience in a movie theatre, for example. It’s a group of people who come together for the purpose of watching the same movie, but it still remains a room full of hundreds of individuals, before and after the show.

Even at sporting events, where all of the fans rooting for the same team can seem to become one cheering voice, this only lasts until the game is over. If you’ve ever driven out of a stadium parking lot (or tried to), you know exactly what I mean.

What it takes to go from a group to a pack is not just a common goal, but a contribution from each member. Watching a movie or soccer game is a passive activity. However, the teams down on the field or the actors and creative people who made the movie did become packs. If they hadn’t, they wouldn’t be where they are.

How Each Dog Pack Member Contributes

In a dog pack, each member contributes based on its position in the pack. The leaders in front provide protection and direction, while those in the back provide a warning of approaching danger. The dogs in the middle mediate between the front and the back, signaling direction from the leaders to followers and relaying warnings in the opposite direction.

Whether you realize it or not, the same is true of humans, and I saw it with every new Training Cesar’s Way group. There would always be those who were very confident, ready to jump into any challenge, as well as those who stayed at the back of the pack, timid and afraid to come forward and try — at first. Meanwhile, those who were neither super-confident nor scared would learn from the leaders and then wind up helping the followers.

When a pack is truly working together, it becomes dedicated to not letting its weakest members fail and to helping its strongest members succeed, and so it becomes greater than the sum of its parts, even as each of those parts — the individual pack members — become greater than they were before.

At the end of this latest course, my team interviewed some of the participants, and one of them said something very profound, explaining that during the course, “I got to discover a part of me that I never knew existed.” Another participant told us it felt like, “Bringing us all together is going to change the world…”

The Power of the Pack

That is the Power of the Pack, whether it’s your own pack at home or work, or a group of friends, teammates, or others who come together for a common purpose. No matter which position you take in that pack — front, middle, or rear — when everyone in the pack is contributing with positive energy, everyone is also growing, learning, and succeeding.

My challenge to you is to find your pack and your place in it, get that positive energy going, and then come together to achieve wonderful, “impossible” things. Of course, the first thing you’ll probably achieve is the knowledge that nothing is impossible when the pack comes together to do it.

Stay calm and assertive!

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