5 Lessons I Learned About Business From My Dog Otis
I love bringing my dog Otis to work. He is an 11-year-old, 30 pound mix of yellow lab, beagle and unconditional love. Everyone loves him – especially the ladies. When people are stressed in the office, they come pay Otis a visit in one of his two favorite locations: when he isn’t sprawled out across the middle of the office carpet, he lounges casually cool atop his recycled king chair, the nicest (and only) lounge chair in our office.
As I watch Otis enjoy life while the rest of us scurry about the office during our busy work days, I can’t help but think of a few other lessons I’ve learned from Otis, The Junkluggers “Chief Canine Officer.”
1. Listen: I find the most savvy business owners are better listeners than they are talkers. People like to be heard, but you can always learn more from someone if you listen closely and take the time to reflect on what they said rather than speak just to be heard. Consider the extreme case of Otis (who always listens), and close your mouth and open your ears – I promise you’ll learn a lot.
2. Look someone in the eye:There is something about a dog’s eyes that pulls at my heart strings. Nowadays it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to look you in the eye when talking to you. Eye contact in business is an important sign of respect and also an important aspect of reading another person’s body language, which can be incredibly beneficial to business meetings. Otis respects me and I respect him – and I can see it in his eyes.
3. Understand your priorities: Owning or working in a business can pull you in so many directions that you can feel completely lost. I have always found myself to be most productive when I start my day establishing a daily list of what needs to be accomplished. Organizing the day’s tasks helps me keep my priorities in check and is a great way to track how successful any given day was. Otis is clear on his priorities: Eat, sleep, walk, repeat …are you?
4. Love thy neighbor: Owning or working in a business can stress you out to the point where it is hard to be nice to colleagues and vendors. I am a big fan of the expression “You will attract more bees with honey than vinegar.” Otis lives this out everyday. All you have to do is take one look at him and you know his heart is filled with nothing but love.
5. Take it easy: Life, and work, can be so stressful – no need to dwell on that stress. Learn from my man Otis. When you need a break, close your eyes and take one. Everything will still be there on your desk when you open up your eyes again. Sometimes when Otis opens his eyes there’s a treat waiting for him – you’ll never know what surprises you might uncover if you just give your mind a rest when you need it.