I am inspired by dogs.

They are not perfect creatures. One of ours has apparently taken to chewing the curtains.

But they imbue each day with an endless sense of the possible. And given one percent of an opportunity, they will take you along for the ride to joy.

They are resilient, optimistic, and forgiving. And they spend much more time trying, than they do feeling sorry for themselves.

Traits common to a better business and a better life.

In an email from my mother-in-law yesterday, I was introduced to Faith.

This is her story.

I am inspired by dogs.


This is 'Faith'

This dog was born on Christmas Eve, 2002. She was born with only two rear legs.  She of course could not walk when she was born. Even her mother did not want her.

Her first owner also did not think that she could survive and he was thinking of 'putting her to sleep'.
But then, her present owner, Jude Stringfellow, met her and wanted  to take care of her .
She became determined to teach and train her to walk by herself.   
She named her 'Faith'.

In the beginning, she put Faith on a surfboard to let her feel the movement.
Later she used peanut  butter on a spoon as a lure and reward
for her for standing up and jumping around.
Even the other dog at home encouraged her to walk.
Amazingly, only after six months, like a miracle,   
Faith learned to balance on her hind legs and jump to move forward.
After further training in snow, she could now walk like a human being.   
Faith loves to walk around now.
No matter where she  goes, she attracts people to her .
She is fast becoming famous on the international scene and
has appeared on various newspapers and TV shows.
There is a book entitled 'With a Little Faith' being published about her .
Her owner Jude Stringfellew has given up her teaching post and plans to take her around the world to preach that even without a perfect body, one can have a perfect 'soul'.
In life there are always undesirable things, so in order to feel better
you just need to look at life from another direction.
I hope this message will bring fresh new ways of thinking to everyone and that everyone will be thankful for each beautiful day.
Faith is a continual demonstration of the strength and wonder of life .

And Then There Were Four

I love change.

I talk about it. Write about it. Preach it. And practice it.

I encourage it in our clients. Expect it of ourselves. And have learned that when change itself is not an obstacle, there are no limits to which the mind can go.

It took me longer than it should to realize that not everyone sees things this way. And that for many, the status quo is a safe and known place.

Today, I know that one of the reasons we get hired regularly is because we have learned to articulate our vision for a client’s future while remaining sensitive to and pragmatic of their present. We make change safe.

Intellectually, I have come to understand the difficulty so many people have with change. But while I could sympathize, I realized this week I couldn’t empathize.

Because I had never experienced the pain that change can bring.

Until now.

Those of you that read this blog know that our eldest dog, Harry, died on Thursday

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I know that for some the death of a dog, while sad, is not a tragedy in the context of the world’s suffering. Particularly not a dog who lived a full and active life, and died peacefully in the arms of two people that loved him.

But I can only measure my pain by what I feel. And this is change that I would give anything to rewind.

I long for the stasis of a few days ago, when we didn’t know he was dying - so he wasn’t dying.

When we could look at every picture and smile.

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I hate change and the pain it has brought. I hate change and how it has made me feel about the present. I hate change and how it has scared me about the future.

I hate change.

But even in the darkness and through the sorrow, there are glimmers of things that are better for Harry’s departure.

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His sister Maya, who for twelve years has taken a back seat, now has our attention in full force. We seek her out when she wanders off. We take her with us on errands. We show her off in public. We love her in a way we haven’t before.

We have time back. The time of helping him onto his bed and off his bed. Of helping him stand and helping him sit. Of supporting him up the stairs, and supporting him down. Of medicating him, and feeding him by hand, and staying in a room to keep him company when everyone else was outside.

We have freedom to leave our four dogs for more than an hour. To go to meetings with new clients. Or for a drive. Or out to dinner.

Small things. But things that are better. And that we can make even better.

I wish Harry were still alive. With all my heart and soul.

But there is a release that has come - for him and for us - that is undeniably good.

This is a new kind of change for me. Unwanted and painful.

And I understand, now, why change is so hard for so many.

But there are possibilities that exist today that did not before. And that is something to embrace.

I love Harry.

And I love change.

And one does not deny the other.

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There Are Two Sides to Every Harry

We have five dogs. Which I realize make us crazy dog people. We’re fine with that. In fact I can’t think of a description that would mean more.

Yesterday afternoon we found out that soon we’ll only have four. Our eldest dog, Harry, is 16 and has bone cancer. Depending on how fast it spreads he has somewhere between a couple of weeks and a few months.

We adopted Harry from a rescue organization in Chicago one year after we got together as a couple, and one day after we moved into our house. Now we can’t remember what it was like when he wasn't around.

He came to work with us every day and took us through all the highs and lows of owning our own business. He calmed us when we were anxious, and barked a lot when we we got loud, which always brought us back to earth - a good place to run a business from we realized.

He saved us from a guy who broke into our house one morning while we were asleep, literally chasing him down the stairs and out the door. We made some changes to the locks at home, and then changed all of our network passwords at work. Neither made us feel as safe as Harry’s bark.

He isn’t a perfect dog. The day we brought him home he bit me. Two days later he bit Chris. We found out that he’d been picked up on the South Side of Chicago as an eight month old stray. Someone had tried to turn him into a guard dog and then dumped him on the street when they realized he didn’t have the heart for it.

But their work left an indelible scar on his psyche, and to this day, he fights with his fear that no one is to be trusted - even after fifteen years. Early scars run deep. But the remorse in his eyes whenever that fear gets the better of him is that of a soul who wants only to love and be loved.

I have loved Harry, night and day. Even when he has snapped at me and I’ve been infuriated by his apparent ingratitude for having saved his life.

But I have come to realize that the greatest lesson he has taught me is that how he acts is not always who he wants to be.

I’ve tried to remember that in business and in life. That sometimes fear makes us say and do things that are the exact opposite of what we feel in our heart.

It’s a thought worth remembering the next time something infuriates you.

Because, as I've been shown, there are always two sides to every story.