I have many heroes, but there is one
that I could never chat with over a hypothetical dinner yet she is one of the first to come to mind when I consider who my idols are. Sadly, she is not alive today, but she left an imprint on me and on many others that still resonates.
My hero was a wolf. She didn’t really have a name, as she was wild, but her tag number was 832F, and the biologists who studied her called her 06 Female or “06” for short as she was born in 2006 in Yellowstone National Park. I first heard 06’s story in 2017, on a podcast called Snap Judgment. It was one story in a three-part episode, and it captured me immediately.
This post is not about the controversy surrounding bringing wolves back into habitats where they had previously been eradicated. There is plenty to be heard on both sides of that coin, and it comes up in the podcast, but you will not find it here. The thing that gripped me was the way 06 stood out among the others. Most remarkable was her hunting style. While the others hunted in packs and participated in the group takedown of large game, she hunted alone. The biologists were blown away by her technique of hunting and killing without assistance. She was fearless in her approach and incredibly successful. This made it so she could choose whomever she wished to mate with and she was choosy. But, she was also loyal to her pack and mates, assisting them and training them, as well.
I still feel emotional every time I listen to the story and think of 06.
She is a marker for me when things are hard and I am feeling defeated. Recently, I was given the opportunity to take a class at work that included a survey by my peers and supervisors about me. The results showed I am really good at some things, and almost none of them are typically given much value in my industry. I’m a relationships person; I am genuine and people like me, I have a high mental acuity but I am not the most analytical or organized.
06’s story came back to me when my weaknesses laid bare started to fester and assault my psyche. It reminded me that I also have strengths and I have been successful in my career. We all have our own set of gifts and shortcomings in which to work with. If you can’t do it the way everybody else does, get brave, run ahead, and take it down your own way. As long as you’re doing it ethically, a win is a win. Don’t forget to also help those around you. Get on the scoreboard but rack up those assists, as well.
Be an 06. We should all strive to be. Here’s a link to the story if you’d like to give it a listen.
Thanks, as always