3 Things My Dog Taught Me About Business (and Life)

Fergus says, “Howdy!”

If you’re following me at all on social media, you’ve likely been bombarded by images of the cutest puppy ever (Sorry. Not sorry.). Fergus, who is a mixture of Fox Terrier and Beagle, joined our family about a month ago. Having a twelve-week-old pup again after more than seventeen years has taught me a lot about myself—and my business. Here are the top three lessons I’ve learned.

Regular Breaks are Crucial

Before Fergus and his tiny bladder came along, I would keep my butt stuck to my office chair all day, taking as few breaks as possible. I have things to get done. Lots of them! And so I would tick items off my to-do list and move to the next one. By the time I stood up at the end of the day, my back and knees were as creaky as the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz.

Now, I’m up and moving every two hours or so. I snap Fergus’ leash on, and we’re outside to stretch our legs and relieve his bladder. Turns out that taking these breaks actually helps me focus, think more clearly, and problem solve like a badass. Not only am I getting more quality work accomplished, but I’m also feeling better for having included more movement in my day–and my business is thriving as a result.

How often do you take breaks and what do you do on them?

Play More

With both of my kids off on their own adventures, I often filled my time with work, more work, reading, and Netflix. Yes, I hit the trails on the weekends, but my days were filled with task completion.  My fourteen-year-old cat isn’t very playful any longer, and so before Fergus came along, I’d lost my connection to play. (Before starting my business, I was the kind of mom who crawled around on the floor, shot Nerf guns, and created Blue’s Clues paw prints for my kids to find.)

Dr. Stuart Brown, in his book called Play, wrote, “As we become adults, taking time to play feels like a guilty pleasure—a distraction from “real” work and life. Play is anything but trivial. It is a biological drive as integral to our health as sleep or nutrition. In fact, our ability to play throughout life is the single most important factor in determining our success and happiness.”

Now, some of my regular breaks include play and, with it, lots of laughter. This means vortex-y yumminess and operating at a higher vibration. How can you integrate play into your day?

Stay Present

Fergus’ favorite toy is Paddy the Possum, a toy from BarkBox.

As I type this post, Fergus is happily chomping and pulling on one of his BarkBox toys. His focus is singular: conquer and destroy. And he doesn’t stop until he either loses a baby tooth or amputates a part of the critter he’s chosen (true confession is that he’ll chew on the tooth when it falls out).

The point of all this is that Fergus commits to being present and focused on what’s in front of him. If he’s walking, it’s all about that experience, sniffing all the scents and toting the biggest stick he can manage. When he’s playing, he’s all in—dog toys, cat toys, or a game of chase. And his joy is palatable.

How can you also stay present on the things you’re working on, bringing in added pleasure throughout the day?

What Have You Learned?

I’m curious to know if Fergus’ lessons resonated with you or if you have your own lessons to share. Please leave a comment and let’s grow ourselves as we grow our businesses!

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