Grace is getting low on dog food. That might not seem like a very important thing. Well, we all know she has to eat, but you know what I mean. It probably doesn’t seem like a particularly noteworthy topic on a business blog.
This past winter I was going through a rough spot with Grace and her food. The dog chiropractor we were seeing had urged me to think about changing to a more nutritional diet. That set me off on a journey that I never imagined. It was a very frustrating, but extremely educational, interesting, and rewarding, process for me. (Grace probably wouldn’t have called it interesting, but I know her system is much happier now!)
Grace is like “Mikey” — remember, years ago, that little boy in the cereal commercial who “would eat anything.” Turns out even though she likes most any food, not all foods like her. I spent untold hours researching and reading literature on how dog foods were made, what foods were good for dogs, and tried (unsuccessfully) to analyze the issues we encountered. I reached out to friends and experts who knew more than I did on the topic. I explored a lot of food options. First, I tried three brands of high-quality manufactured foods: all made her sick in some way. Then I switched to homemade food, which she loved. But even some of that didn’t settle well with her system or I might still be going through the effort to cook up turkey and carrot muffins for her, despite not really wanting to spend time in the kitchen for my own meal preparation.
You may recall, that at my wit’s end of what to feed Grace, we headed off to a holistic vet who provided much appreciated answers about her food tolerance. That put us on solid ground with healthy food choices and for the past three months, meal time is easy again. I feel good about the quality of food that Grace is eating. Her system is happy. And I don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen preparing it. It was a real accomplishment, as I achieved all the things I wanted when I started with the transition that took three months to work through. It was not an easy path, but we stuck with it without giving in or giving up.
So now that I need to restock her food, I have almost forgotten how much effort it took to get to this point.
During the course of any day, it’s all too common to become only focused on our current issues and problems. We forget what we have already accomplished, what we have achieved, even if those items are seemingly simple. Time helps us forget how arduous and challenging the obstacles were that we faced. This narrow focus on problems impacts our mood, and therefore our ability to be as effective as we can be. Giving too much energy to the negative areas of our life will hinder the amount of happiness we feel. If we’re only thinking of all the problems we have, without appreciating what we have achieved, that’s a drag on our mental state.
This is especially relevant when managing others. Yes, we need to be honest about performance issues and provide accurate feedback when mistakes occur or improvements are warranted. But we also need to be sure that we acknowledge the times when a person has made changes or completed acceptable work. If we are constantly projecting dissatisfaction about someone’s performance, it impacts their ability to move beyond that.
So today, I am appreciating how easy it is for me to go pick up more dog food. That’s because I know how hard it was for me to arrive at a point where it’s such a simple thing to do.
What extraordinary things can you see today, by just taking stock of the ordinary things around you?
P.S. Check out my guest blog post over at Charney Coaching and Consulting; Renee and Michael are awesome people and talented consultants and I was honored they asked me to contribute to their successful blog.