After a long morning at the office, a client presentation gone poorly, and two board meetings (that obviously ran late), it’s no surprise that the highlight of my days (both the good days and the bad) is coming home to be greeted by my furry best friends… my three dogs.
Three dogs, you say? Well that’s just plain crazy! Maybe you’re right. But not only do these goofballs provide me with unconditional love, laughs, and cuddles, but they have taught me some very valuable life lessons along the way.
Lesson #1 – Never dismiss the power of your intuition and instinct
Everyone, humans and animals alike, has these magical gifts. They are that little jolt you get when something just doesn’t feel right, or alternately, you just KNOW something was meant to be. How many times do we stop and say, “I should have listened to my gut” or “I wish I had gone with my first instinct?”
My dog loves almost everyone. So on the odd occasion when somebody is introduced into my life that he visibly doesn’t seem to care for, I take it for what it’s worth. These people generally enter and then exit my life for good reason. Almost always, my dog was correct with his first instinct.
As human beings, we need to learn to trust our instincts and recognize just how powerful they can be. We must have faith in the fact that although it may seem confusing, we generally do know what is wrong or right – whether it is a new relationship, a new job offer, or just a very tough decision.
Lesson #2 – Don’t take anything for granted
My dog likes to go to the park. My dog likes to go for car rides. My dog is happy when I wake up and give him a good pat on the head.
Dogs never become too busy, or caught up in small details. They care little about something bad that may have happened last week (like punishment for chewing my favourite flip flop, ahem). Instead, they live in the moment and appreciate the really simple – but really wonderful – things that are offered to us every day.
Don’t forget to celebrate those small wins in life. Maybe you brought on a smaller, but still meaningful, account to your firm. Maybe you get to go for a long walk outside in the sunshine when your meeting gets out early. Maybe you decide to turn your phone off for a weekend and head to the lake. These are all reasons to celebrate and reflect on just how awesome your life really is – and how LUCKY you are to even have these opportunities.
Too often, we get caught up in the bad things or negative experiences that sometimes get tossed our way. Amidst the chaos of life, don’t forget to appreciate just how wonderful the little wins can be.
Lesson #3 – Loyalty trumps all
Sometimes I have really busy weeks and my dogs and I don’t go to the park as much as we should. Sometimes after getting home from work I quickly feed them and have to run out to another appointment. Perhaps these situations aren’t ideal for them, but they have still pledged to be my best friends, through thick and thin.
I make sure to give them a nice home, healthy food, lots of exercise, tons of love, and as much attention as I can. In return, they give me their undivided love and attention.
It’s a seemingly simple relationship and yet a very powerful one. Never underestimate the power of loyalty – whether it be a mentor in business or life, a good friend, or even a client. Go above and beyond to do the little things. Call to check in, say thank you, and let the important people in your life know how invaluable they are to you. The benefits of a loyal relationship of any kind will far outweigh the benefits of those relationships that will come and go in your life.
A little love as you walk out the door
The next time that you are running out the door, late for work, briefcase in hand… don’t forget to stop for a second and give your furry little friends a quick hug or scratch on the behind (yes, they love it). They will more than give back in return.
Athena Leadership is a Manitoba-based, non-profit organization dedicated to advancing young women in leadership. Laura Wittig currently serves on the Board of Directors as the Director of Communications. She is a proponent of helping other women advance in their careers, and seeks to share her perspective on how we can always keep learning personally and professionally.