When we thought our dog, Ginger, was dying, when we thought death was imminent, we decided to give her whatever she wanted. Now don’t get me wrong. She was fairly spoiled before this. But since April, since we have bowed down to her every whim and every command, she is spoiled beyond reason. She barks at us until she gets her way. If there is food out of her reach, say at the dinner table, she will stand at the table, look up, and bark until the food is dispensed into her tummy. If we are not all together when one of us heads to bed, then she barks and herds us until we are all in the same room. She barks to go out. She barks to come back in. She refused to eat her “dog” food and insists on cooked turkey now. Note to self. Dogs have their own timetable on their own deaths and it is probably good not to spoil the crap out of them.
The lesson for me was clear. I realize that I am extremely spoiled. Having my own business has its challenges, but is also has some great perks. I work out of the house so I don’t have a commute. I create my own schedule for the most part. I try to take every Friday off along with my wife. I don’t have kids so I have no sports to coach or view or college to pay for. I usually take a few extra days when I am traveling to enjoy wherever I am. I tell people that I am so spoiled I don’t think I could ever work for anyone again. And that is true. What this reflection has given me is a whole new level or respect for the people I work with in these programs. They have very tough, demanding jobs that require 50 to 80 hours per week. They have families with children. Sometimes many children. They are involved in their churches and communities. They coach their kid’s sports teams. How in the world do they do all of that stuff? It amazes me. I bow down to them and their resilience, patience, stamina, and energy.
I wonder sometimes how they find the time to run errands, to have a hobby, or to have any time for themselves. We always recommend that they find some reflection time for themselves every day, but I can’t imagine the difficulty in doing that consistently. I talked last time about my dog being the Lance Armstrong in the canine world, miraculously surviving cancer the last three years. I have to say that these folks that do all of these miraculous things every single day are the heroes in my book. They keep going and they abide and they don’t really complain or wish for another life. Not out loud anyway. So although I don’t have all of the answers for you or the people in my programs, I want everyone out this heroic situation to know that there is someone on this planet who puts them way up on the respect pedestal. You are amazing. Thank you for all that you do.
I talk more about this concept of life balance in my book, Stress Management, Time Management, and Life Balance for Tough Guys. Check out my website for more info. http://www.brentdarnell.com
More on what my dog taught me next time.