My Dogs are Jedi Masters

mom and boys

 

Yoda has nothing on my dogs.  They really are the Jedi Masters of peace and tranquility.  They are so good, they taught me to chill out.

 

I got to the point in my life that chaos was the norm. My best friend and I used to joke about how we have this sick tendency to actually enjoy having a full plate. It makes us energized and even perform the competing tasks at hand better than if there was only one to do.

 

Chaos became the norm.  That was okay when it was work, I felt I could handle it.  But it never just stays at work.

 

I used to work for an organization that was simply exhausting.  Chaos would have been a welcome break.  I had over an hour drive from work and would use this time to ‘decompress’ and put myself in a better place for when I got home and was with my son.

 

When I quit that job the first thing he said to me was, “Thank you, you were always in a bad mood during the week when you got home.”

 

So much for decompressing and being in a better place.

 

I used to run around on the weekend trying to accomplish what needed to be done throughout the week in a day. Cleaning, cutting the grass, weeding, grocery shopping, laundry – and by the way, how do two people have so much dang laundry?  Chaos was becoming a norm in my personal time, too.

 

One night I was sitting down, exhausted, and over came one of my pups.  He nonchalantly plopped his head on my lap.  My first thought was “I am too tired to play” but then I looked down at him.

 

If you are a dog person, you will understand the look I saw in his eyes.  If you are not, just go with it. He looked at me as if to say, “really *sniff* you don’t have time to even pat my head?”

 

Guilt by dog.

 

Of course I patted his head, rubbed his ears, and gave him undivided “mom” time.  This brought one of the other ones over and it became a puppy love fest. For that period of time I did not think of any tasks or things left undone, I just enjoyed getting happy mauled by my dogs.  Once they had their fill of attention, they went back to sleep.

 

Just as easy as that.  Fifteen minutes of play time then so relaxed that they took a nap. Seriously?  I want that!

 

As crazy as it sounds, I studied my dogs that weekend.  I was like a modern day doggy Jane Goodall. When they had a task to complete (eat, chase, dig) they gave it their complete and undivided attention.  When they were done, they were done.  They did not go back to that hole and think, “I could have done more, maybe I should dig from the outside in next time.” The threw themselves into the task at hand.

 

Then they napped.

 

They enjoyed the outside, laying in the sunshine, soaked it all up until they sounded like they were about to pass out, then they went in the house and laid on the cool tile floor.

 

Then they napped.

 

On walks they literally stopped to smell the roses…and the grass, and the mailbox posts, and the other dogs poop, and the wind and their own butt…  Even if we just saw that mailbox post yesterday, they were going to sniff it again, you never know what could have happened in 24 hours. Every smell was awesome! They took full advantage of what was around them.

 

Then they napped.

 

At night they nestled close by, getting belly rubs, rolling their little puppy eyes back in their head from sheer pleasure then started snoring.

 

These guys know how to live! Besides realizing my dogs took a lot of naps, I realized they had taught me a thing or two:

 

  • Put all your effort in the task at hand; when it is over, it is over.
  • Enjoy your surroundings.
  • Rest and rejuvenate.
  • Move – play, keep your body active.
  • Every day is a new day, you never know if there is something new in your same old path.
  • Relax, it gives you more energy when you have tasks to accomplish.
  • There is great joy in the smallest pleasures.
  • Treats are good.
  • Take time for yourself.
  • Take time to love the ones you love.

 

I have incorporated my Yoda dogs teachings into my daily life:

meditation pup

 

I take breaks throughout the day to go outside and enjoy the sunshine, birds, clouds, rain – whatever the situation is, I do a mental break and immerse myself in the sights and sounds of the right there.  Recently I put up a couple hummingbird feeders outside my office – I am in heaven during these breaks watching those little guys buzz about.

 

When the work day is done, it is done.  Then it is time for the family, dedicated, quality time.

 

Sleep.  We get sleep now as a regular thing not as a so-exhausted-I-fell-into-bed thing and please let me get just a couple of hours.

 

Daily walks with the dogs and time at the gym to keep physically active helps reduce stress.

 

And treats, lots of treats.  A massage, a manicure, a day trip, a special meal – whatever it is, treats are good!

 

Try following a dog’s life this weekend and see if you don’t get converted by these Jedi Masters of happiness.

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

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Start Wanting What You Have

Luke and his toys (2)For some reason we seem to be stuck in a world of comparison.  We compare where we think we should be based on someone else.  “I would be happy if I had what they had” type mentality.  Never mind what we already have, we want theirs.

 

This thought struck me when I was watching my pups play.  I have two male dogs about 3 and 4 years old a Lab/Boxer mix and a Pit/Basset mix – Luke and Bandit.  Side note for all the animal owners – they came to me pre-named so no, I have no reason for naming them those names.

 

They had discovered two tennis balls that had been tucked away and were overwhelmed with joy in rediscovering these “new” toys.  All was bliss and happiness when they each first grabbed one.

 

Then it began.  The “I want what you have” game.  One would be happily chewing on his toy and the other would just stare at him, waiting for the toy to roll away so he could pounce on it despite having the exact same toy right in front of him all to his own.

 

This went on for quite some time.  There is no reasoning with this.  You could try to tell Luke that he has the exact same toy as Bandit but he would just give you that look like, “I know his is better, I want it.” Dogs don’t reason.

 

For some reason, we get in that same mentality.

 

In searching for a job we think that if we had the same type of opportunities that someone else has then we would be successful, we would be happy.

 

We stop looking at what is right in front of us and the possibilities that might exist within those and long for something else.

 

When you approach it in this way all you are doing is trading one slobbery slightly gnawed on tennis ball for another.

 

With the New Year approaching many are going to be tempted to make out their resolutions and on top of that list might just be to get a new or better job.  Before you put that down, take a moment to evaluate your current opportunity.

 

Is it possible that there are opportunities there that you have not identified, rather looked over because you have slobber toy envy?  Is it possible that if you approached your existing situation with the same enthusiasm and positive expectations that you would be able to see it as the right “next” move for you?

 

As soon as I started playing with Luke and his discarded toy he immediately perked up and decided he really, really wanted that toy.  Then a funny thing happened, Bandit decided he no longer wanted his toy, instead he wanted Luke’s because obviously it was better because Luke was enjoying it much more than he was.

 

It isn’t the toy or the job – it is the attitude.

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

www.CareerPolish.com

 

You Are Not Going To Please Everyone

Alone in a CrowdJust get that through your head right now.  No matter if you are job searching, building a business or just  living every day life: you are not going to please everyone.  Ever.

Don’t even try.

Just let it go.

Once you complete embrace that thought then you can focus on the matter at hand.

What is going to make you happy?

What a trite little sentence – huh?  When someone asks me this I have to fight the overwhelming urge to reply with something sarcastic like, “rainbows and butterflies and sunshine”.  It is a hard battle but I normally win.

I used to think that making it all about me made me selfish.  After all, I am a mother, a daughter, an aunt, a friend and so on – it is my job and duty to think about everyone else and make sure they are happy, safe and secure.

On the list of priorities my son and family were at the top and I fell somewhere near the bottom after the dogs.  Somehow it gets ingrained in us that we are low on the list.  This is especially true for mothers.  Once we give birth that “last on the list” instinct kicks in.

But then I realized, if I am miserable than how can I best serve anyone else?  How can I tell my son to do what makes him happy if I am not leading by example?  How can I encourage my friends to go after their dreams if I do not do the same?  Isn’t is just some big repeating example of “pot kettle black”?

Yes, it certainly is.

So I stopped.  I stopped the world and locked myself away and had a long, hard look at where I was, who I was and what I was doing.  Was what I was saying really match up to what I was doing?  No.  Was I living true to myself, in making myself happy?  No.  I vowed that it was time to change.

Then I became afraid.

What if I alienate someone by putting myself as a priority?  What if I hurt someone’s feelings?  What if they think I am selfish or I miss out on helping them because I am being selfish?

Those are called reactions and those are things that are out of your control.  The bottom line is by being happy as a person individually you bring more value to those you love.  You are allowing for all the positives in your life to start with you and this allows you to serve as a megaphone for others.  You increase the good for everyone else to allow them to see and feel that positive in you and be able to bring it into their own world.

If someone alienates you then perhaps they were more concerned with their own welfare and not yours.  If you hurt their feelings because you are trying to be happy then how did they see you in the first place?  Being selfish – damn straight, but in a positive way; and when you are happier you will be able to help them even more.

Your family and friends may not approve of the job that you are going after or the business that you are running; but if it makes you happy than isn’t that what they should really want for you?  Isn’t that what you want for them?  So why shouldn’t you want the same for yourself?

You may loose contacts, associates, friends or family in putting yourself and your happiness first.  You are not going to please everyone.  But remember, it is the quality that counts, not the quantity.

Start today, do one small thing today just for you that makes you happy.  Treat yourself to a foo-foo coffee, or a new book or a new toy.  Say no to a request for your time and give yourself that time uninterrupted.

Just do one small gesture just for you.  You will probably feel lighter, happier, more relaxed and a little bit of peace; which is a much different feeling than when you are trying to please everyone.

What small gesture will you do for yourself today?

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

www.CareerPolish.com