Lessons Learned from Ralphie

This past Saturday, my family and I adopted a dog, Ralphie. He is 9 months old and honestly, pretty amazing. Yes, he's a dog...and yes, he is another boy in my house (I now have 4 if you include my husband and 2 boys...and I DO). And it's pretty awesome having him around.

And exhausting.

And hard.

And fun.

And...well, you get the picture.
And having a new dog has presented some interesting challenges, too. One of the more recent ones occurred this morning - and it resulted in my writing this article today.

The past 2 mornings, Ralphie has pooped in the house, only in the morning and AFTER he has gone out to his kennel to go pee. Two mornings ago, I chalked it up to his getting used to the house and cleaned it up. This morning, I was less than happy and not as quick to be "happy" to clean it up. It was 5:30am and while I'm usually up at that time, I'm still used to having that time to myself, to do some yoga, write, etc. Yes, it's time for me to be selfish.

Now that time needs some adjusting...and not only that but part of the adjusting was cleaning poop off the rug this time. [He pooped on the hardwood floor the other day so that was much easier.]

And my immediate reaction was to be mad at Ralphie, to be upset and to raise my voice. I was pissed. But then I looked at Ralphie and his expressive face and realized I had a choice in how I reacted. And while I had a conversation with him about pooping outside a few things came to mind - more like realizations, actually.
  1. My nine year old son had said "Mama, should we check on Ralphie downstairs? I thought, no he's fine and his rawhide from last night is down there. He's probably getting that - and so I stayed upstairs
  2. He had pooped the day before, around the same time...hello...!
  3. He wasn't doing it on purpose. I had missed his cues and he did try to bring some attention to himself. I missed it, he didn't.

Through all of this, two things came to mind:

self-awareness and realization

It was self-awareness that I was not open to his signals. It's realizing this AM that him pooping downstairs is not my fault or his fault. And I was mad at myself for not checking on him - when Matty suggested someone go do it...when he pooped yesterday morning - probably at the same time.

it's about seeing and reading the signals - being open to them...

I was reminded of what my coach, Erika Lyremark shared with our Mastermind, Mark'd Mastery. Being open to opportunities that come your way. To not be so quick to judge.

In the past (maybe in the closer past than I would like to admit) I could be quick to judge and to make up my mind. Honestly, at this point in my life, I feel I'm wired this way. However, it doesn't mean I have to act on it. I have been consciously working on my ability to hear something, listen and think before acting. To not necessarily jump to a conclusion.

And this is where it comes around full circle to Ralphie and my lessons learned...in the past 4 days.
  • Adding a dog to the family, while a great adventure, is hard
  • Ralphie has reminded all of us of unconditional love
  • Dogs bring you back to the basics - if you let them
  • I have noticed more birds and floating leaves and just "stuff" in the past 4 days than I have in a long time
  • I have had some great conversations with my boys on walks with Ralphie
  • My boys have stepped up and contribute even more of themselves
  • I am reminded daily that what I think is "common knowledge" or even "common sense" may be necessarily be so, i.e., we don't walk into the street of oncoming traffic...we stay on the side walk

These lessons learned are applicable in business, too.

Are you missing the forest for the trees?

Are you really self aware of what's going on or are you walking around in the same fog?

Do you take time to see and feel and observe what's going on?

Do you think about what others know...or don't know...before you act or react?

And just think...these are just my lessons learned from Ralphie :)