Lessons from the Traveling Dog
As I attempted to open the front door this morning. I quickly realized that Otis, the neighbor’s bulldog, had decided to sleep in front of it. Otis occasionally visits because he likes the biscuits we give him. Dogs are matter-of-fact creatures. They figured out through evolution that if they just use their eyes, they can stare a hole through the thickest wall of resistance and gain emotional attachment.
Otis likes to wander the neighborhood. He is more about what he can find than what he has. Dogs live in the now, and what they had yesterday is never more important then what they have right now, and right now is a constant quest. As I gave Otis his biscuit, I wonder did he expect the biscuit? Did he plan the walk to my house knowing a biscuit was waiting, or was it all just in the moment? Then I realized he didn’t eat the biscuit.
In business, whether you’re the leader or an eager follower, if you fear then avoid what is new in the moment, you will always look to yesterday for excuses to hold yourself back. You imagine that tomorrow will be comfortable if nothing changes today.
Otis decided that wondering would be more exciting than hanging out in the comfort and safety of his fenced yard, Otis wasn’t looking for absolutes, Otis was just living in the now on a quest to learn what can come. I imagine Otis had hopes of finding a biscuit, getting a pat on the head, or maybe a little game of tug-of-war. After all, everyone has an old sock on their porch, right?
Otis travelled the neighborhood simply because he was looking for what he might find. Otis wasn’t in search of absolutes. He may have had some hope and dreamed of biscuits on the porch of his neighbor’s house. Otis simply wanted to see what he could find. If leaders and teams took time to simply search for the unknown, they would more often than not be rewarded by finding what others missed by being static in their search.
Sometimes business leaders put themselves in what I call their “fenced yard of security.” They never stray the neighborhood for something different; they are too determined in needing the map with detailed instructions before they wander. They fear that allocating the time for understanding something they currently don’t comprehend is a bad investment. So I guess that unlike our dog friends, they are scaredy cats (I couldn’t resist.)
“When you stop looking for absolutes, you discover the excitement of the unknown”
Well, Otis is done exploring my porch. Today, he passed on the biscuit. See, the new neighbors moved in yesterday, and Otis went there first. The little neighbor girl fed him a package of bologna. Sometimes when you explore outside your fence, you find new friends and better food.