Posted by Grace Bosworth on Jan 7th, 2013 | 1 comment
There is no doubt that I am a dog person. I grew up with dogs and even had the experience of training and showing dogs. In my adult life, as work has taken over, I hesitated over making the decision to get a dog. People told me I travel too much, I am never at home, they are a lot of work….etc, etc.. Last summer, however, I became the proud owner of a beautiful border collie and the rest is history. Had I known what an impact that dog would have on me personally and on my business, I would have gotten one earlier. My dog makes me a better human being, which makes me a better business owner.
With this post, I am outlining just a few of the many lessons my dog has taught me over the last 9 months. My wish for everyone is to have something in your life that helps you look at yourself, your business, even your industry with a new set of eyes. Here’s what I have learned:
- Approach everyone with love, kindness, and humility- a characteristic unique to border collies is that they crouch low to the ground when they approach an uncertain situation. My dog in particular will approach a stranger with a wagging tail and, upon reaching them, will immediately roll onto his back asking for his belly to be rubbed. It invokes a smile and a positive response every time. I have noticed that we in the language services industry tend to be mistrustful of one another. Not always, but often enough. We question the qualifications, skills, and intentions of other professionals.
- Forgive quickly and easily- What good ever comes of holding grudges? We all know unforgiveness is not useful nor it is healthy, but we practice it all the time, consciously and unconsciously. Dogs forgive in an instant and move on, it’s beautiful thing.
- Live in the moment- No creature lives in the moment like a dog does! My dog does what I call the “happy dog dance.” When I come home or he gets a new toy, he just runs in circles around the house in a state of total bliss. Sometimes the dogs in the dog bark will do the same; one dog leads the pack in a joyous run all around the park. If only we could all experience that state of bliss even once in awhile!! Just lose your mind and run for the joy of being alive!
- Loyalty counts- in the business world of every industry, good help is hard to find. It’s difficult to find employees that will stay with you and who really care about your business the way you do. Good people are like a good dog, they love you despite your faults. They love you as imperfect as you are and hang in when times are tough.
- Stay with your pack- No one can succeed alone nor can any business. In the translations industry, it is easy to demonize the agencies or complain about high-maintenance translators and companies that want the world without paying. We all need each other, that is a fact. Enjoy how amazing this industry is and how much in this industry is done on trust. Not many industries function like that; trust is everything in language services.
- Nobody likes leashes- I rarely use a leash with my dog because he rarely leaves my side. Border collies are like that. He regards the leash as punishment and gives me the saddest look on the rare occasion I put him on one. Avoid the things in life that keep you on a leash too. Most of our “leashes” are self-created, aren’t they? We usually have the power to take the leash off but we don’t, we blame someone else.
- Enjoy the weather- dogs love the rain, snow, sun, whatever. They take what life gives them without complaint. I wish I could be more pleased about 10 degree weather and 12 inches of snow. I realized how much of my life I spent wishing away while wishing for spring! Enough is enough; I am going to learn to enjoy winter. Every season brings new opportunities, especially in business.
- If you love someday, show them- We hold back too much. If you appreciate someone in your life, tell them you appreciate them. Dogs greet you as if you have been gone for years. Take just a modicum of that enthusiasm for the people around you and see how contagious it is.
Honestly, I could go on and on. Buying a dog last year was one of the best decisions I have ever made. If nothing else, that dog demonstrates living in the moment to my day after day. I am lucky enough to be able to take my dog to the office with me so he’s next to me most of the day every day. He’s a constant reminder that there is life outside of work and he is a joy to everyone that works with G2Local.
With a new year, we need to constantly re-examine ourselves and our businesses. I want my business to be a border collie kind of business- kind, gentle, trustworthy, and loyal to our clients. I know there are pit bull businesses, some quite successful, but it’s not our style.
What in your life teaches you to be a better business person? I would love to hear your thoughts.