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Meet Molly, my grand-dog. I love spending time with her when I visit my girls. During my last visit I was left alone for a while and spent a little time sitting on the porch writing in my journal on a beautiful spring day. Molly also took advantage and popped out from the doggy door to join me.

Locked in to my creative zone, as I often do when writing, I started to observe Molly as she moved around the porch. First my thoughts went to “would be nice to be a dog and lay in sunbeams all afternoon.” Then one idea after another came to me and how I related her actions to being self-employed. After all, it is Molly’s job to lay in the sunbeams.

Here are six things I learned about business from a beloved dog.

1. Be open to opportunities

Dogs will jump up and run to you when you open up the pantry or cabinet door that holds treats or other smells they love. They are especially joyful when a morsel of “people food” finds its way to the floor, which is their territory after all! Yet, the opportunity is not always met with action. After a sniff or two, they either eat it up or walk away.

Business tip: Analyze every opportunity before you pounce.

2. Have some quiet time in the sun

Dogs love sun beams. They appear to be zoned out, but their minds are still alert. The ears give them away. Just watch them and how they react to common sounds around the house versus a sound that requires their attention, like someone at the door. They hear what they need to hear. They are resting, yet still alert so that they are ready to go when the time is right.

Business tip: As self employed entrepreneurs we rarely have that meditative down time that we need for reflection. Slow down a little bit each day to connect with the natural rhythms of the earth and open up your creative mind. Be mindful.

3. Take the higher ground

The porch I was sharing with Molly that day is on a second level overlooking the backyard and neighborhood. In the corner was a hot tub with a padded cover – her favorite spot. She can see many backyards from that spot. She acted like it was her kingdom to watch over, yet was not aggressive – just observing.

Business tip: Take the higher moral ground. Think before joining in on petty conversations or gossip. Try not to react too quickly to criticism.

4. Take care of yourself

Dogs groom, run, jump, and rest considerably more than we do. Of course that is their only job along with loving us unconditionally. It is part of their nature. It may be part of our nature too but has been buried behind computer screens and windshields. Yet, having a fit mind and body is a large component of being successful in business and living a life of joy.

Business tip: Take care of your physical and mental health as nature intended.

5. Avoid loud noises

Turn on a vacuum cleaner and most dogs will disappear. Or have them snuggle up to you during holidays where fireworks bang all night. I get their point. I don’t like to vacuum or watch fireworks either.

In our business world loud noises come in the form of distraction.  Those distractions take us into tangents that eventually find us at the end of our work day, exhausted and nothing checked off our list.

Business tip: Create a plan and stick to it. Avoid distractions that take you away from your goals.

6. Jump up and down

Dogs love to greet you when you come home, or when you have the leash in your hand for those coveted walks to share alone time with you. Ever witnessed a dog sled race like the Iditarod? Those dogs (which Molly shares traits) jump very high with the team, showing how eager they are to begin the race.

In business we need to identify events where we can share and help our clients to make them jump up and down. Get to know them better and what they like. Show them how much you appreciate their business. Maybe send a card of gratitude.

Business tip: Keep your customers happy.

It’s a dogs life. What have you learned from your dog?