Buy a Dog

A year ago, I was stuck. I had two problems.

First, I was not devoting enough of my time thinking strategically about my own business. Like many of my peers, I would wake up early in the morning and go right to my computer, checking emails, texts, sports scores, etc. All of the important stuff. Before I knew it, several hours would have passed and I am off to meetings for the rest of the day. The first part of my day was spent in the “weeds” working on the urgent and less than important work of the day. I was reacting to other people’s burning needs which were also typically not really important.

Secondly, I was having a difficult time carving out enough time each day to exercise. I would get home at night, eat dinner, watch some television, and then feel guilty that I had not yet gotten any exercise all day. Sometimes I would force myself to work out or go for a walk. Other times, I would go the easy route and put it off for a day.

In both cases I knew that the optimal time for me to think strategically and exercise was in the morning. All of us are wired differently in this regard. Some people are more effective in the morning. Others work best later in the day. I am a morning person. This bothers my wife greatly as I can be singing songs and behaving merrily early in the morning and she needs a cup of coffee just to acknowledge the sunrise.

In regards to my wife, our marriage hit a significant milestone last year and we almost killed each other. All in the same month of January.

We celebrated thirty years of marriage a year ago. This is a significant milestone for any married couple and we were no exception, and we were very proud partners. We celebrated this milestone with a weekend in the mountains and had a great time. Life was good.

I then made a near fatal mistake. I brought home a dog. Moe was part Golden Retriever, part Labrador, and 100% puppy. Our last dog Rocky passed away several years ago after spending fourteen years with us. He was great. I brought Moe home to take his place. He and I shared the couch the first night. I was like a young boy again with a new puppy.

My wife was not so happy. In fact, I hid all the sharp objects in the house. She was not prepared for this new addition to the family. As a puppy, Moe was chewing on everything in sight, barking at all hours of the day and night, and found dog training more entertaining than educational.

An interesting thing happened in the months to come. Each morning, I awakened at 5am and walked Moe. He needed the time outside and the exercise as we crated him during the day. During each thirty-minute walk I found myself able to really focus on the most important issues of the day. By the time I arrived home I had a clear picture of my day and what needed to happen. I had sorted out any of the issues I might have experienced the day before and was ready to move into the heart of my day. I had found my peak strategic thinking time.

Likewise, I was also getting good exercise first thing in the morning. Moe and I took turns in the lead during each walk. On occasion he would spot a squirrel and would attempt to pull my shoulder out of its socket as he pulled on his leash. I felt good after each walk and if that’s all the exercise I got that day, it was okay. I have maintained my weight all year as a result.

Morale to the story? Sometimes we face very difficult issues in our lives and the answers may be right in front of us. We just don’t see them through the clutter of our lives. We make life far more complicated than it needs to be. In my case I just needed to buy a dog. I killed two birds with one…new puppy. What about you?

And the best news…my wife has become one of Moe’s biggest fans. She plays with him every day.

Today we are celebrating another marital milestone. Thirty-one years. I am blessed.