Like most people, I am constantly learning and growing from my life experiences, the people I meet and what I read.
I bought my dog Skye (a Labradoodle – labrador X poodle) two years ago. He since have been a constant source of love and amusement, but even more so, he daily confirms some of these greatest business life lessons I have learned – the things that matter most.
Here are only a few things dogs can teach us business lessons about what matter most:
1. Do a Little Digging for Buried Treasure
Dogs never cease to enjoy digging for buried treasure. Too often in life, we give up when the going gets tough, or we fail to dig deeper than the surface. When we encounter a problem at work, being creative and digging deeper can lead us to exciting and unexpected solutions.
2. Live in the moment
Whether a dog is eating a bowl of kibble or chasing a ball, he live for the present moment. The past is gone; you can’t do anything about it. The future is unknown. The only thing you can really enjoy and affect is the present moment.
3. Don’t hold grudges
A dog will never be angry with you because you didn’t give him a treat. Holding a grudge weighs you down emotionally and keeps you from moving forward in life. Let grudges go and you will create your own personal freedom.
4. Don't Be Afraid to Get Messy
Dogs are not afraid to get down and dirty. We don’t always have to be clean and perfect all the time. Things don’t have to be perfect all the time.
5. Remember to Listen
Our dogs have a heightened sense of hearing, and they are always listening to the sounds around them.
When a client tells you about a problem, practice really listening. Pay attention to what they say, rather than simply thinking about what you will say next. Listening is key to strong and lasting business relationships.
6. Enjoy the Quiet Moments
As much as our dogs love to run around, they also know how to take a break and just enjoy the quiet. It doesn’t make us lazy to create time in our day to just take in the silence. There is something very calming and rewarding about making some quiet time for yourself.
7. Play every day
Dogs love to play, which usually involves lots of movement - running, chasing and jumping. Playing opens up your mind and spirit to all kinds of new ideas and creativity – so important for every entrepreneur. If you can exercise while you play, even better.
8. Accept yourself Can you imagine a terrier wishing he were a boxer? We as business men and women spend a lot of time trying to make products look like someone else’s version instead of loving our unique features, and yes, our unique problems. Love everything about your business — the good, the bad and the ugly!
9. Enjoy the journey
When dogs go for a car ride, they stick their head out the window, smell the air and feel the wind against their fur. They don’t care where they’re going. They’re just enjoying the journey. Although goals are great to set, we often forget that it’s the journey that matters most. When we get too attached to the outcome, we set ourselves up for frustration, depression or even anger if our exact expectations are not met.
10. Drink lots of water
Dogs instinctively know when their bodies need water. In adult men, about 60% of their bodies are water. Stay hydrated – it’s fuel to mind and body.
11. Be loyal and dependable
Dogs are pack animals. They stick with their pack. They play with their pack. They defend their pack.
If only we could all be the person our dogs think we are. When you think you’ve lost everything, take a good look around, I guarantee your dog will still be there, full of love and admiration. Being a loyal and dependable friend, lover, colleague, partner or parent will enrich your life in many ways.
12. Avoid biting when growling will do
Stand up for yourself, but no need to be unnecessarily aggressive or harmful.
13. Trust your instincts
Honor your dog's instincts. Because dogs are animals and species first, they all share a common set of instincts. Trust your initial instincts of a situation or person, before you let the mental chatter in your mind tell you you’re wrong. Your gut instinct is usually correct.
14. Things don‘t matter
A dog can have the best time with an old worn out ball. You can find joy in small things. Lose your obsessions over materiality.