Mika recently turned 2 ½, which prompted me to reflect on how much she has changed my life for the better – including how she has made me better at my job! She has taught me how to be a better communicator, how to live in the moment and the importance of listening to my gut. Here are some ways that my Mika has schooled me in the art of business:
Communication is in the details
Not much escapes Mika when it comes to humans. She is even known to sleep with her eyes open (which is sort of creepy) to ensure that she doesn’t miss anything. She is always paying close attention to body language and context to assess what our human words really mean.
My husband and I sometimes try to trick her into thinking we’re sad or angry by changing our tone or inflection. She never falls for it, no matter how convincing we think we are. She sees – or hears – right through us by reading the other unspoken cues.
Sometimes in our haste to close a contract, progress a partnership or hire a new staff member, humans can fail to do our own due diligence. Carefully examine those with whom you wish to develop a relationship with and look beyond what they say – even if it is what you want to hear. Pay attention to the tone of their voice (do they sound genuine?), their actions (do they say one thing yet do another?) and their follow-through (do they say they want to be part of the team but never volunteer?). By combining these cues with their words, you’ll get a much clearer picture of their true intentions.
Being present in the moment
Mika does not spend her days dwelling on the past or fretting about the future. She lives her life in the now. She experiences all of life’s tastes and sniffs in the moment.
When you’re in a meeting, be in the moment. Be attentive and listen and really give your fellow meeting members your full attention. Always aim to pay attention to the moment you are in right now. Be mindful of your actions and understand that the simple act of being present will impact those around you for the better. Do not fill your head with past or future situations. Folks can tell very quickly if you’re really “there” or if you’re just plotting your next step.
Listening to your instincts
Mika forms opinions and makes decisions based on her “gut.” She is blessed with an intuition that allows her to assess friend or foe in an instant. If Mika doesn’t like another human or dog after a few sniffs, she will follow her instincts and avoid them. If she senses hostility, bad intentions or instability she will let them know that she’s on to them.
Even with her ability to make split-second judgments, Mika is extremely well-balanced and friendly. She amazes me when she stands up for her other doggy friends if she senses that another dog has inappropriate intentions. She has a keen instinct for right and wrong and has been taught not to ignore that sense.
Animals have to rely on their gut instincts to stay alive. As humans, we sometimes try to block out our own gut feelings. We have all had that feeling of an employee that is not giving their job all that they could, yet we continue to make excuses for them hoping that they will eventually make a turn for the better. Or maybe you get a bad feeling about a prospect during the sales process but ignore it, just to have those issues amplified once they become a client. If you had listened to that gut instinct sooner rather than later you can end up saving yourself a lot of grief down the road.
What animal instincts do you incorporate into your business practices? Let us know in the comments!