Requiem for a Runt

Requiem for a Runt

He was the runt of the litter.  But wow, was he ever cute.  Really cute.  Ginger bonded with him immediately and he with her.  Mission accomplished.

Almost 14 years ago, as Ginger faced yet another in a string of  knee surgeries, we knew it was going to be a long, mostly immobile recovery.  A puppy made sense.  What better way to ease the tedious, healing hours?   We named him Ozzie Osbourne.  Although he was cute, he was also part weird.  Born on Hallowe’en and being part weird seemed to justify the name.

A LANGUAGE OF HIS OWN

About nine years ago, shortly after he turned five, a disc popped through his spinal column and his back legs and hips quit working.  The vet said that the surgery to correct the situation was incredibly expensive and even if it was successful, there was only a fifty percent chance he’d ever walk again.  We refused to accept that.  So did Ozzie.  We found a new vet and after six weeks of total rest and mega doses of some very effective natural health products, he fought his way back to almost perfect health.  The only thing he couldn’t do was jump.  That’s a bit of an issue when your mission in life is to be a lap dog.  So he created a language all his own and there was never a doubt as to what he wanted.  For some reason, he scratched on the hall closet door when he was hungry, nowhere near the kitchen.  When he needed to go outside he’d walk halfway to the door and look back with an expression that said “Hey, aren’t you getting this?”.  And when he wanted to cuddle, he would look you straight in the eye and nod his head up and down.  He taught us his language, we didn’t teach him.

YES, A LAP DOG

Truth be known, Ozzie spent most of his life curled up on Ginger’s lap.  Oh, he played hard and created mischief particularly when other dogs were around but he knew why he’d decided to live with us.  Lap dog.  First, foremost and always.  Even earlier this year as he was in substantial discomfort himself, he remained Ginger’s leg warmer as she recovered from yet another knee surgery (see the pic at top of post).

Over this past year he fought his way through declining mobility, a genetic neurological condition and twitches and seizures that made his daily life challenging. We watched carefully as the inconveniences turned to pain.  Significant, non-curable pain.

SAYING GOODBYE

Yesterday, the time came to say goodbye.  He passed away in our arms.  I held him and stroked his forehead because that was our thing.  But when the time to leave us became imminent he spent his last moments being cuddled by the woman he had pledged his heart to.  He slipped away peacefully and painlessly in her arms.

Ozzie taught us many things during his years as head of our family.  He proved that with effort, patience and motivation any challenge can be eliminated.  He taught us that there’s always time for fun and a quick game of ‘chase me around the house’.

Most importantly, he taught us that there is always room on the couch and no matter how busy you are, there is always, always time for a cuddle.

The house is so quiet today.  Rest easy little big man.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.” (Gilda Radner )

Advertisements

Why Your Resolutions Will Fail

archer

Before I delve into a totally upside down look at New Year’s Resolutions, I do want to say Happy New Year to you.  You personally.  Thank you for reading my blog and putting up with my musings for yet another year.  I’ve been writing blog articles for almost 9 years and some of you have been with me since the very first post. Please know how much you are appreciated.

This blog was designed as a ‘safe haven’ in the wonderful world of blogdom. I don’t post sales pitches, recruitment articles or those annoying and distracting banner ads on my blog. I don’t blog for money. I do this because I need to write. I write because it makes me feel good, fulfills at least part of my creative side and feeds my soul. My goal is always to find the positive messages that we so desperately need in today’s world. And sometimes I just write because something funny happened on the way home.

YOUR NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS WILL FAIL

Pretty cheeky headline. I honestly don’t know most of my readers well enough to be positive that you will fail. So I’m going to identify the reasons that I believe most will and you can tell me (in the handy comments section below) which of these is your personal challenge. And please, if you are one of the blessed few that sets New Year’s Resolutions and achieves them, leave a comment about how you overcame the obstacles.

Fellow blogger Ramit Sethi notes: “In an interesting quirk of human behavior, we would rather continue doing something that doesn’t work than try something new that COULD work — but also could fail.…… Think back to your resolutions from last January. Did you follow through? Do you even remember what they were? Yet how many of us were tempted to make more resolutions this year?”

THE BIG THREE

Resolutions need to be SPECIFIC. If your resolution contains words like ‘should’, ‘could’ or ‘might’ you might as well just give up right now and avoid the frustration of the ultimate collapse of your goal. “I should start saving some money” is interpreted by your brain as being unimportant because the word ‘should’ really means “I’m probably not going to do this”.  Instead, try something very specific like “I will lose 15 pounds by March 01, 2016”. That’s just step one.

Resolutions must be REALISTIC. Despite your best bravado, a goal like “I want to go to the gym 5 times a week” is doomed to failure because the word ‘want’ is a failure word and honestly, how many times a week did you go to the gym last year?  Using the example in the previous paragraph, “I will lose 15 pounds by March 01, 2016. I will achieve this by working out at (the name of the gym) every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7:00 until 8:30 p.m.”

Resolutions must be based on a WORKABLE PLAN, not on willpower. Willpower will get you started perhaps, but long term it will fail without a well-defined, specific, calendared plan of attack. Resolving that you are going to accomplish something and that willpower will get you there is much the same as shooting into the air and waiting for the geese to run into the bullets. You must turn your specific, realistic plan into action. What day and time are you going to the gym to buy a membership? Is every single workout on your calendar? If not, it’s not real.

On a positive note, I believe that you can achieve any New Year’s Resolution if you create specific, realistic, well-planned goals. After all, you’ve taken the most important first step – you’re reading my blog 🙂

Here’s to an incredible 2016!

Tradition compels me to end with something to think about. “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” (Confucius)

On Toxic Thought

positive

I am an entrepreneur and I spend a great deal of my time mentoring others who want to be entrepreneurs.

I love what I do.  And like most things in life, I learn a great deal from my coaching students.

One of the greatest challenges to success is the self-doubt, second-guessing and downright toxic thought process that invades their minds.  Most people that want to be successful entrepreneurs have a clear vision of their goals.  Unfortunately, many are not really sure if they’re capable or worthy of leading the process.

You can’t succeed unless you believe you can.  Period.

We all have doubts about our own capabilities.  That’s not the issue.  The skill is to get past the doubts.  I don’t know of anyone that built a successful business while thinking “I’m not capable”.

John Rampton is an entrepreneur and blogger.  He created a list of ‘toxic’ thoughts and some great counsel on getting past them. I agree with him.  Totally.

John writes:

I’M GOING TO FAIL

You’re more likely to fail with that self-talk, certainly. Plus, you don’t really have statistics on your side since the numbers don’t lie: The vast majority of startups do fail. It’s how you see those challenges and take them on that make a difference.

You only have two options as a potential entrepreneur who knows the failure rates: Think you’re going to fail, or think you’ll be an exception. Choosing the latter is a much healthier option. However, should you fail (it happens), learning valuable lessons will make you much more likely to succeed next time.

Related: The Morning Rituals of 10 of the World’s Most Inspirational Entrepreneurs (Infographic)

I SUCK AS A LEADER

Nobody is a natural-born leader, but everyone has traits they can hone to make them a great leader. Remember there are many different types of good leaders, and you don’t need to mimic a particular style to find success. Of course, there are a lot of successful entrepreneurs who aren’t good leaders. That’s why they hire a CEO to take care of the overall leadership for them.

Entrepreneurs are jacks of all trades, masters of none (it’s kind of a requirement), so if leadership isn’t your thing, work on that weakness but also consider bringing on a stronger leader to fill the gaps.

I’M NOT A REAL ENTREPRENEUR

There’s no industry-wide degree, certification or licensing to become an entrepreneur. It’s not like saying “I’m not a real plumber.” The reality is that even the definition of an entrepreneur is up for debate. It’s not about fulfilling a certain number of criteria to “be” an entrepreneur. Don’t ask yourself if you’re really an entrepreneur or put yourself in charge of defining what it is. It’s not important. If you want to start a business, you’re on an entrepreneurial track. It’s time to step out of your shell and become the leader that you’re meant to be.

Related: Are You a Real Entrepreneur or Just a Fake?

I’M A HORRIBLE SALES PERSON

Join the club. It takes a very special kind of person to be a “natural” salesperson, but anyone can learn those skills. There are many ways to work on your sales skills, but remember that the ultimate goal isn’t to be the salesperson on the floor talking to every single customer. Right now, you need to “sell” yourself, your business and your goods/services to investors and your early customer base. There’s an end in sight, since ideally you’ll eventually hire sales teams. You can do anything for a while. Remember: It’s not only “salespeople” who can sell.

MY WORTH IS, WELL….

If you don’t think you’re “worth it,” why should anyone else? A lot of entrepreneurs don’t believe in themselves and devalue their worth, which sets them up for failure. Don’t focus on your “worth,” but instead work on your business drive. Being scrappy with a hustler attitude is what it’s going to take in the early days. Also, “worth” is very subjective, and not necessarily tied to a specific figure. There are plenty of other things to focus on at this point.

You’ll face plenty of negative talk on this journey, so why join in? Welcome support from all angles, especially yourself.

Related: 6 Toxic Beliefs That Can Ruin Your Career

Bottom line for me is that, like any other challenge in life, it’s up to you to push through, abandon your comfort zone and just go for it.  It’s absolutely worth it.

Closing as always with something to think about: “When things go wrong, don’t go with them.” (Elvis Presley)

On Broken Sticks And Balloons

REMEMBER WHEN YOU WERE A KID?

No matter how much homework, time spent on chores, school or other non exciting activities, there was always time to play.  We played because we loved to play.  And without even knowing it, our play taught us important life lessons.

We learned how to share.  We learned teamwork and how to tell time because mom wanted us home before dark.  We learned that not all of our friends would be our firends forever.  We learned how to settle disputes and that usually the majority wins whether you’re part of it or not.

We learned to pick up all the marbles because you could twist an ankle if you left them laying around.  We developed the skill to deal with the hurt of not being picked first for our road hockey game.  We learned how to tease gently and how it felt to be teased not so gently.

AND WE LEARNED HOW TO IMAGINE

I remember in great detail running as fast as I could over to the local arena right after the minor hockey game ended and grabbing a broken stick out of the dumpster.  If I had a broken hockey stick it could become a guitar or a dozen other incarnations.

THEN WE GREW UP

And for some reason the adult world frowned on playing.  The older we got, the less we played.  I’m here to tell you I don’t think that’s healthy.  And I did a little research on this.

James Altucher is a blogger that focuses on the positives of life.  I like that.  He recently got me thinking with an article proposing that success can be inspired by playing like a child but with the experience of an adult.  And he cites some great examples of how creativity and success can spring from play no matter how old you are.  He writes:

“Einstein found his passion because he wondered what a man traveling the speed of light on a spaceship would see if he looked out the window and saw a man standing still.  He daydreamed and doodled and found his passion.

DaVinci found his passion drawing machines with wings that flapped like birds – the first illustrations of what 500 years later became planes. Just doodles. Thousands of them.

Mick Jagger had no musical talent at all but would collect blues records from America and he and his childhood friend Keith Richards would lie around listening to them. When his parents sent him off to study at the London School of Economics, he was still listening to those records and scribbling down lyrics rather than paying attention to supply versus demand.”

HEY, IF ITS GOOD ENOUGH FOR MICK ITS GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME

So I proposed a little experiment to myself and myself agreed.  I identified those things I loved to do spontaneously when I was younger and for the past month I’ve tried to accomplish one every day.  I found a broken hockey stick and played air guitar in the front yard one afternoon.  Yep, I got some strange looks from people walking by but wow, it felt good.  I played some harmless pranks on one of my friends.  Somehow they weren’t surprised it was me.  I decided to have ice cream before going to bed one evening.  It was fantastic except for the fact that I had some challenges falling asleep brought on by the sugar high.  Small price to pay.

Here’s my point.  I’ve been struggling lately trying to keep my creativity fueled and articles written for my blog.  Actually, this is the first post since April.  Apparently today’s blog post is proof that playing like a child with adult experience does indeed create success.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I have some balloons that need to be filled with water……

And as always, something to think about:  “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” (Pablo Picasso)

 

Thanksgiving 2014

canadianthanksgivingI love this time of year.  Thanksgiving, in my opinion, is a marvellous festival.  It’s one of the few celebrations throughout the year that (in Canada) hasn’t been over-commercialized.  Outside of turkey and pumpkins there really isn’t a massive ‘gotta buy stuff’ mentality attached.  And without all the white noise of retail expectations, it gives me an opportunity to think about the things I’m really thankful for.  So here’s the list for this year in no particular order:

1.  Parents:  I was blessed to be raised in a home that, although desperately light on cash flow, was full of love and support and wise guidance.  Although they are both gone now, mom and dad are still alive every minute of every day in my heart, my mind and my actions.

2.  Love:  Ginger has been the most singular influence on everything that I am.  She is my moral compass, my confidante and an angel in her motives and actions.  We are approaching our 34th anniversary in a few weeks and I can’t believe that she’s put up with me for 34 years.  It amazes me every day that she still loves me as I love her.  We still walk down the street holding hands.  Interestingly, we have had several encounters over the past few months with complete strangers who have walked over to us and  remarked, word for word, “you guys are adorable”.  How old do you need to be that strangers think you’re adorable?  She’s adorable.  She’s my world.

3.  Children:  Largely due to Ginger (see above), who I lovingly refer to as the ‘amazing parenting machine’, I am the father of two truly remarkable young men.  Although they are absolutely different in their lifestyles, attitudes, careers and goals, they are both such good people.  They know and do the right things, bringing joy to the lives of everyone they encounter.  And they have added two remarkable young women to our family as both have chosen outstanding women, Brit and Niki, as their life partners.  Matt and Phil, you are what every father hopes his sons will become.  Great men.  Great husbands.  Great people.

4.  Sister:  Since I graduated from high school, my sister and I have never lived close enough geographically to go for coffee together on a whim.  As a matter of fact, for most of our lives we’ve lived thousands of miles apart.  Despite that, I know that if I needed her she’d be with me in a heartbeat.  I pray that she knows I’d do the same.  She is a remarkable woman married to an exceptional man.  She is at the top of her field and is an inspiration to others every day.  I’m so proud of her and so thankful that I have a sister who epitomizes the love and tradition of our family.

5.  Friends:  I am surrounded by great friends, true friends in the purest sense of the word, all of whom are major influences on my life.  You know who you are and you know how thankful I am that you are such a solid foundation in my life.

6.  Business partners:  No one can succeed in a vacuum.  You need to partner with exceptional people that have exceptional skills.  I am thankful for the many people who partner with me in a variety of businesses.  Your counsel and wisdom is important to my life every day.

Thank you all for shaping my life!

And as always, here’s something to think about.  “When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.” (Tecumseh)