7 Lessons in Business… from My Puppy

Two weeks ago, I brought home a puppy.

No, wait. Let me rephrase that.

Two weeks ago, I brought home an adorable, furry bundle of energy with floppy ears.

Meet Bodhi. His name is short for bodhisattva, which in the Buddhist tradition is one who achieves enlightenment yet stays behind on Earth to help others end suffering. How fitting is that for a puppy?!

To Bodhi, everything is an adventure and the world is his for the taking. Already I’ve found that inside that bundle of puppy enthusiasm are plenty of lessons for life and for business.

Here are 7 business lessons my puppy has taught me:

1-    This too shall pass.

Every new day is a new opportunity. I know this because every morning Bodhi acts as though it’s been forever since the last time he saw me.

“Where have you BEEN?!” I can practically hear him thinking. “It’s been SO long! I thought you were NEVER coming back…”

But within 2 minutes of licking my face, all is well and he’s on to other adventures.

Similarly, professional (and personal) hiccups happen, but then they pass. Don’t dwell in disappointments, but instead shift your focus to new opportunities.

2- When you know something is right, act fast.

I met Bodhi at an in-person adoption event. But Bodhi became a bit of an online celebrity. The Humane Society that was housing him and his litter mates posted pictures of each puppy on its Facebook page. That post was so widely shared that when I brought him into the office the first time, two members of my team recognized him. (Ah, the power of Facebook!) In fact, one’s husband had mentioned wanting him, too. (Yep, he really is that charming.) If I had waited 15 more minutes, he would’ve been gone.

Trust your ability to make fast decisions.

3- Distractions don’t replace genuine connections.

Bodhi finds amazement all the time – investigating blades of grass, sniffing new scents in the air, you name it. He’s easily distracted. As a puppy, his very nature is exploring every passing whim. But what really holds his attention are those things that he craves at a deeper level – bonding with his people, food that sustains him, and his walks, to name a few.

In business, you can create all the distractions you can think of to get people to pay attention to your business, but you can only distract someone so long if there’s not really good stuff backing it up.

4- Enlist the help of experts.

Confidence is knowing what to do and how to do it. Puppies, on the other hand, don’t quite yet know what to do or how to do it. Everything is new and unfamiliar, even the basics of walking on a leash or eating breakfast with the bigger dogs. Bodhi is learning by watching his new friend – my much more experienced 70-pound Labrador retriever, Guinness.

There’s no substitute for knowing exactly what to do. Lack of experience in business can be costly, in terms of both money and time, so learn from others, including paid experts, who know the ropes.

5- An apology goes a long way.

Bodhi is awesome, but he has made a few mistakes. He doesn’t mean to… He’s just so darn excited about, well, everything! But he recognizes when he’s made a mistake and he looks up at me with big, brown eyes. A cute, apologetic face goes a long way. He’s sorry and I know it. That’s what matters.

We all make mistakes in business. The important thing is to acknowledge the issue as quickly as possible and to apologize.

6- Playing is an essential part of life.

For Bodhi, every situation is an opportunity to play and every person he meets is a new friend. He automatically considers every situation an opportunity to play. And here’s the thing – Bodhi is one of the happiest creatures I’ve met. There’s definitely a lesson there!

Entrepreneurs tend to be so passionate about what they do – and how they can do it better – that they can sometimes forget to take a breather. Take a moment every day to just have fun. You’ll be refreshed and get new perspectives and your business will reap the rewards!

7- It’s important to have your safe place.

Part of the comfort of his new home is Bodhi’s crate. It’s his corner of the world. He curls up there and rests or plays with his toys. It’s there that he regenerates. Then he comes out refreshed and ready to meet the world again.

In business, it’s important to have a safe place to go to mull over ideas and gather new perspective. For me, it’s mastermind groups. For many entrepreneurs I coach, it’s Biz Club. Find a place where you feel comfortable to be yourself and to bounce business ideas off of people you trust.

In the true spirit of a bodhisattva, Bodhi is my ‘coach’. He’s teaching me new things (or he’s teaching me how to see things in new ways).

If you need help seeing your business in a new way, click here to schedule a chat with my team. You probably won’t get Bodhi – he’s pretty busy – but the rest of my coaches are awesome too.

If you need help seeing your business in a new way, click here to schedule a chat with my team.