My dog ‘Harry’ is 8 years old and one of 3 siblings who I get to enjoy the company of. He is a miniature poodle and if you know anything about this breed, they sure are a delight to be around.
You might be thinking, ‘what on earth can a dog teach you about business?’ Well, I thought that too until I really got know more about dogs and why it is that they are so much fun to have in your life.
Let’s look at some of the lessons I have learned from Harry and how these observations have positively impacted how I run my business.
Lesson 1 – Start The Day With A Waggy Tail
I don’t know about you but I used to hate alarms waking me up in the morning. Then, getting up and dragging my butt around in a half-daze before rushing out to tackle traffic to get to work certainly wasn’t any fun and put quite a damper on the day before it even begun.
Did you know that how you start your day has a huge impact on how your day unfolds? Think back to how you started your last few days. Was it in a mad rush to fit in god knows how many tasks before you started work. Or, perhaps you had to force yourself out of bed, still exhausted from the day before?
Then think about how this affected your entire day. Sometimes, we can feel better as the day goes on but this is more the exception, than the rule.
What Harry has taught me about how to start the day is to always be happy and grateful for each morning. Every day, without fail, as soon as I wake up he jumps up on my bed, plonks himself down right next to me and starts licking my face to make sure I’m awake.
I have so much fun with him in the morning that I put-aside 10-15 minutes first-up playing, laughing and enjoying having fun with Harry. Even days where I don’t feel so great when I wake up, spending this time with Harry snaps me out of it and puts me into a great frame of mind for the rest of the day.
The lesson here for me is that I can choose how I want to start the day, rather than let how I wake up or what happened the day before ruin my day before it even begins.
For me, my energy levels are more important to manage than time because I have found that when my energy levels are good then I am automatically productive, but when they are low, then everything is 10 times harder and my productivity sucks.
Lesson 2 – Don’t Forget To Have Fun During The Day
Because I run my business from home Harry is never that far away. I leave my office door open most of the time so as he can wander in and out when he likes. Before Harry came along I would say that I was somewhat of a workaholic. I would sit at my desk and go-go-go all day long and often times into the night, with rarely a break.
Harry had other ideas. He loves to play and sees me as his play buddy as I’m always throwing the ball for him or taking him out into the yard and chasing him around the garden, which he loves.
I make sure now to get up from my desk every 60 to 90 minutes for at least 15 minutes and go and play with him. Not only does he love it, but it gets my body moving, gets me out into the sunshine and helps break the obsessive nature I have around work.
This has been totally life-transforming. Instead of it eating up my ‘valuable’ work time it has actually given me a new lease of life and business. It helps to clear my mind on a regular basis, get my body out from behind my computer and into healthy outdoor activity, and it’s energizing because I’m doing something I love.
The best part is that instead of my productivity going down because I’m spending less time at my desk, it has gone up because my body and mind is not getting as fatigued as it used to. In fact, I even get to squeeze in gym during ‘working’ hours now and still manage to complete all my tasks.
Lesson 3 – Do Everything With Enthusiasm
If you have a dog, or know someone that has one, then you can probably relate to this lesson. You see, no matter what Harry does he does it with enthusiasm. When I get up in the morning, he is super excited to see me. When I come home from being away, even if it’s for 5 minutes, he is so happy to see me again it’s like I’ve been gone forever.
As I have observed Harry over the years the one thing that shines through beyond all else is that he is happy all the time. This ten kilogram furball is the most joyful and enthusiastic creature I have ever seen.
When I reflected on Harry’s happiness and just how he and almost all dogs I have come across stay so happy all the time here’s what I learned; Harry lives entirely in the present moment. He’s not thinking about the past or worrying about some imagined future, he’s simply here and now with whatever is happening.
That’s why he always so enthusiastic – it’s because every moment is like the very first time for everything. Imagine, if every person you spoke to today you greeted with the same genuine enthusiasm a dog does when they see you again after being apart. What would your relationships look like?
I bet you’d have a partner that couldn’t wait to come home and ‘spice’ up your life a little because after all what we put out comes back!
There are many lessons that Harry has taught me that I have applied to my business and my life and boy am I so glad I did. I’ve never been happier, healthier, more productive, and had more gratitude for the small moments in life than by just observing how happy my dog is.,
This lesson is by far the most profound because I have discovered the most awesome power of living more fully and freely in the moment. Harry has helped me to understand how to drop the past, forget about the future, and enjoy the present moment for what it is.
This has helped me to become eternally grateful for what I have and where I am, no matter what is going on because at the end of the day if this moment was to be my last on Earth how would I want to spend it – bitter and twisted from the struggle of life beating me down, or happy and enthusiastic, like my dog.