The phrase working like a dog to most means working super hard, getting dirty, putting your nose to the ground and getting the job done. It’s even in the song Hard Days Night by the Beatles, you know, “It’s a hard day’s night and I’ve been workin’ like a dog”. After a discussion on a Facebook post I am starting to realize it is so much more than that. I think the qualities I often associate with my canine are qualities I want to mirror.
I posted a photo of my dog Dallas watching over my yard. You can see his ears are perked, he is fully aware of what’s around him, and he is ready to go at a moment’s notice. I never asked him to do that. It is what comes naturally to him, like so many other wonderful qualities he has.
What got me started thinking about this is a comment Jim Dangelo made on the Facebook post: “People have a habit of feeling the need to make a comment when all you want is a caring ear. I have noticed that my dogs know when to be quiet & listen, then lean in & nudge my hand, as if to say without words, ‘Pet me. You’ll feel better for it.’ And I do”
I was fortunate enough to connect with Pam Gaber, author of Gabriel’s Angels and CEO and Founder of Gabriel’s Angels, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to helping at risk children through the healing power of pet therapy. When I asked what she finds powerful about dogs qualities she stated “it is amazing to watch a therapy dog intuitively go to the child who has the most angst. In our work with at-risk children we have witnessed dogs doing what dogs do best, lend a listening ear and a unconditional caring heart”.
The amazingly wonderful things that make a dog the top pet are all the things I want to emulate:
- Caring for others without judging them: A dog doesn’t care what I look like, if I am in my sweats, what color, age, religion, sexual orientation, weight, hair color or height I am. At networking events how do I choose who I connect with? Am I judging people on how they look, what they wear, the way they do their hair? Am I going up to the person who seems to be unsure and nervous and helping them at least find one person to connect with in the group and then introducing them to others?
- Honesty: Have you ever come home, opened the door and saw that complete look of utter shame on your dog’s face. You are just waiting to find what he chewed or destroyed. Am I owning up to my mistakes as readily and showing up and asking for forgiveness?
- Good Listener: Just like Jim said, dogs just sit and watch you with those big soulful eyes, not making a sound, but letting you know they are there for you. When clients are sharing their concerns or issues they don’t always want me to have the answer. Are they really just looking to sort it all out for themselves and they just need to talk it through? Am I being careful about when I am offering my opinion and when I should just let my clients speak?
- Greeting people with an unbridled enthusiasm: I personally love it when I come home, or I meet a new dog, and the tails are wagging and they just look so happy you are there with them. When I make new contacts, meet new prospects, am I showing them how happy I am to get to know them or am I acting like it is their privilege to know me? When I am out at places am I greeting people with a smile as I pass them, saying hello, offering a kind gesture by holding open a door?
- Protecting those who are important to me: By the picture above you can see how Dallas takes his job seriously. He is watching and waiting to see if he needs to take action. He is very prepared to act. Am I offering my clients the protection they need during every transaction? Am I up to date on all the current material, laws, advancements, etc on what I am selling to be sure my client is getting the best deal possible? Am I keeping up with my education, seminars, reading to be sure I am top of my game?
- Faith that those I serve will come back: When I leave my house and say goodbye to Dallas, he knows I will be coming back to him. I have shown him time and time again that I always come back to take care of him. Am I doing every thing I can to keep my clients happy? Am I putting their interests first and do I have faith they will come back to me?
- Authentic: Have you ever seen a dog be anything other than what he was made to be? I haven’t. Am I always being who I am and not someone I am not?
I want to answer yes to every one of these questions so I can truly be working like a dog. Are you working like a dog?
Addition added 2.29.2012 – Here is another great post by my friend Linda Ryan who is a dog lover