Monday, March 30, 2009

What I’ve Learned from Charlie

Charlie is our soon to be 3 month old black pug. He has been the center of our lives for the past 3 weeks since he moved into our home. I have learned a lot from him. Some of the things I’ve learned I’d like to pass on to my fellow humans. As a coach I face issues that I believe might be easily resolved if we were all a little bit more like Charlie. I have outlined three major areas that if we all improved in, we’d be a lot happier.

Focus: Charlie is intensely focused. Whether it is meal time and eating, play time, chewing anything and everything in sight, or going potty, Charlie stays focused on the task at hand. He is focused when he expects a treat, when he demands attention, or when he is tired and just not that into it. As a coach, I listen to many people who get scattered and lose their focus in life. Sometimes they seem lost and unsure of how to complete projects or tasks that they’d like to get done. This lack of focus can be exhausting and draining. As most of us have learned the hard way, multi-tasking is also a myth. Charlie is very alert when he focuses and then when the job is done, he relaxes. That is where we’d all like to be consistently.

Knows What He Wants: Charlie knows what he wants and usually won’t take no for an answer. He wants his meal when he wants it and he’ll let you know. He wants his play time and chew time and he won’t compromise. (Ok, I know we are bordering here on being a little stubborn). He knows when he has to go and when he doesn’t. This sounds simple enough for humans, but you’d be surprised how often when you ask someone what they want, they do not know what exactly that is.

The only time I’ve seen Charlie doubt himself, is when he tries to go down the stairs because that is not a skill he has mastered yet. This is a healthy kind of doubt, we should all be more careful when we are trying something potentially dangerous for the first time. Other than that, doubt is just an obstacle in our self-confidence and in our experience of a life fully lived. Just having the clarity of what we want and the focus to get it, can create a great life.

Loves and Receives Love Generously: Charlie loves everyone. He is not afraid or embarrassed to show his affections for people or other dogs. He’ll lick you to death if he feels like it and then sometimes, he’ll just lick you once (this is related to the second factor, knowing what he wants). He loves to be held and petted. He can put a smile on anyone’s face. Charlie is confident in the love area. He even spends careful time grooming himself in his crate and taking care of his own needs.

If you read my last post, you’d know how important it is to be able to love yourself first. I think if you have a healthy dose of self-love, you can also love another the same way.

So, a dog does indeed have a great life and we could too, if we were all a little bit more like dogs in our approach to life. I’ll keep you posted on what else I learn from Charlie that can be applicable to us.

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