As I reflect on the dogs my family had while I was growing up I realize how special dogs are. Yes, they are man’s best friend. They can learn tricks, yes, even old dogs, but one thing they don’t need to be taught is how to be an integral part of the family. They have that mastered. And as very social animals, dogs also have many other great qualities… to such a degree that, as business people, we can should learn from our dogs and apply many of their approaches to our Business lives. Here are 9 ways we can learn from man’s best friend:
1. Being present. A dog does not think of yesterday or tomorrow, only the now. While it is important to plan for the future, many of us allow thoughts of past or future events to cloud our thinking and sabotage ourselves by not fully engaging, enjoying and fully experiencing the present. It’s called the “Present” for a reason… make the most of this gift.
2. Habit. Dogs habitually do the same things at the same time. These habits or routines help them get what they want. They want to go for a walk at a certain time or have a treat at a certain time. They want to play when then want to play and they want to have dinner at the right time. They are like clockwork. These habits that dogs form are carefully designed disciplines that dogs have for their own well-being. Healthy and productive habits in daily business routine can be the difference between success and failure. Form good work habits.
3. Instinct. Dogs follow their nose and their gut. They trust their instincts and have the power of conviction to know their noses will lead them to where they want to go. Be fully engaged and trust your instincts.
4. Listening. When dogs hear something of interest they stop, listen, process and act. Listening in the business world is a key to unlocking the door to building true lasting and meaningful relationships. Emotions, decisions or actions triggered by ineffectual listening and processing can lead to disaster! You have two ears and one mouth… use them in proportion.
5. Protect. The relationship between a dog and its family means everything. I remember on walks with the family, the dog would be on protection patrol. If one the kids ran ahead the dog would run after them, then would run back virtually creating a circle of protection around the group. A dog stands ready to defend or attack anything that comes into that circle. Be loyal and look to provide for and to protect the welfare of others.
6. Confidence. Have you ever seen a small dog like a miniature poodle stand its ground and even out bark and out macho a much larger dog? That’s because dogs are naturally confident, confident in their ability to influence and to not be intimidated. You have never seen a dog sweat, no… because dogs don’t sweat- they pant. As a business professional never let them see you sweat. Take a stand and have confidence in your abilities.
7. Dogs are happy beings. It doesn’t matter whether we have been away for five minutes or five weeks. They are always happy to see you. Are you that happy?? Have you given yourself the permission to be happy? Happiness is a state of being that can be influenced by circumstance but that can be secured through the right frame of mind. Make up your mind… Just automatically choose / decide to be happy.
8. They learn. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but that’s not true. Dogs will always learn new things as long as there’s something in it for them. Whether it’s for fun, food or compassion. How much have you learned over the past few weeks? How many books have you read, educational videos have you watched or seminars have you attended? As humans we are never too old to learn a new trick or two and there is 6000 years’ worth of written knowledge just waiting there to be explored. Learn something new every day.
9. Unique and Authentic. Dogs are highly unusual in their variation, from the Chihuahua to the Great Dane. In fact, the dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is far more variable in size, shape and behavior than any other living mammal. Some dog breeds are exceptional at hunting or shepherding while others are great at guarding or working. Regardless of breed, all dogs seem to revel in their uniqueness, staying true to their identity and being the dog they are meant to be. Revel in your uniqueness… Be authentic. Be the you, You are meant to be.
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