Category Archives: The Dog Star

The Dog Star: Dog Fight

(The Dog Star is a symbol of power, will, and steadfastness of purpose, and exemplifies the One who has succeeded in bridging the lower and higher consciousness. – Astrological Definition)

I was working in my den when I saw Bentley attacking Buddy in the back yard. This is “play” of course, but an 80-pound, two-year-old Shepherd doesn’t know his strength with a ten-year-old, 30-pound Beagle. I stood up, ready to tear downstairs and out into the yard.

Then I saw Bentley turn and Buddy launch himself at Bentley, causing him to retreat and regroup. Buddy was enjoying himself. (He’s also mastered how to get a shared stuffed duck away from Bentley by using his lower center of gravity and tugging it out of Bentley’s jaws.) I sat back down and determined not to intervene.

If Buddy had to defend himself against almost any adversary, he’d do a pretty good job because he is used to fighting German Shepherds (first Koufax and now Bentley). I’m reminded of baseball players who take practice swings with weighted bats, and my track days when I ran the 440 for speed and stamina in training when my actual competition was in the 100 and 220.

Don’t run from tough competition, pressured situations, and stronger athletes. Learn to compete and comport yourself well. If you do so, other situations will be a piece of cake.

You may lose the sale to a billion dollar company’s CEO, but what you’ll learn will make it easy to sell to $500 million division presidents. You may not get the keynote for IBM’s annual meeting, but you will get the featured spot for a trade association, or a concurrent session with IBM, or be invited on TED.

Don’t run away. Throw yourself at your counterpart. Once they back off, the leverage is yours. Bentley may have bigger teeth, but Buddy’s are just as sharp.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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The Dog Star: Fetch Me If You Can

(The Dog Star is a symbol of power, will, and steadfastness of purpose, and exemplifies the One who has succeeded in bridging the lower and higher consciousness. – Astrological Definition)

My designer, Julie, was wandering around the back yard, planning for an expansion of our garage, and ran into Bentley, whom she’s known since he was a pup. Bentley had neither his lacrosse balls nor frisbees in the yard, so he dashed behind the evergreens to pull out a stick from a hoard he keeps there.

He laid the stick at Julie’s feet, and she threw it. He returned it and she threw it again. After the third toss, he came back but didn’t drop it, and Julie tried to get it from him. Bentley dodged and ran, and Julie pursued.

Fetch had turned into taunt.

(My granddaughters love to chase Bentley around the yard trying to get a ball from him, but they never catch him and often wind up falling and rolling down a hill. I find this hysterical. My daughter doesn’t.)

I had to explain to Julie that Bentley had reversed the game, and he had lured her into what he preferred to do, which was to be chased. (Shepherds are considered to be among the smartest of all breeds. And also one of the fastest.)

What are you doing to lure clients into your game? What enticement are you offering that they appreciate, to the point they decide to pursue you to obtain it? Bentley uses a stick. You need a carrot.

© Alan Weiss 2014

 

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The Dog Star: Opportunities Around Us

(The Dog Star is a symbol of power, will, and steadfastness of purpose, and exemplifies the One who has succeeded in bridging the lower and higher consciousness. – Astrological Definition)

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Bentley has developed a new habit (he’s now 20 months old). He finds a stick in the yard—really part of a small branch, given his size—and tosses it at my feet. When I don’t bring his Frisbee or ball out, he organizes his own game of fetch. I toss the stick and off he goes, four or five times, then he’s ready for something else.

 

Since the lacrosse balls we use are nearly a dozen he’s found in the trees and brought back with him, his ability to create his own amusement is rather impressive. I think many of us don’t realize the opportunities for  improving our lives right beneath our nose.

 

During the course of your day, you see behaviors, meet people, and experience interactions that can form the basis for great stories and examples. (A large hawk collided with the huge window in my new Retreat Center, and went flying off the other way, and I have a lot of ideas for that one.)

 

We see and do things at clients that are replicable elsewhere, yet we often reinvent the wheel instead every time, and they are often inferior versions from scratch. We know people—colleagues and friends—who could use the work and reduce our own labor intensity, yet we neglect to ask them. We meet people who are highly successful but fail to observe what they do, instead too concerned with what they say.

 

If a German Shepherd can find his own amusements and create rewarding interactions, so can you. They are under your nose. Bentley’s nose is bigger, I admit, and more acute. But it’s rumored our brains are larger.

 

© Alan Weiss 2014

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The Dog Star Prima Donna

(The Dog Star is a symbol of power, will, and steadfastness of purpose, and exemplifies the One who has succeeded in bridging the lower and higher consciousness. – Astrological Definition)

Bentley received a bath from the mobile groomer and hated every moment, whined continually, refused to have his claws cut (he tried to bite the groomers), and returned in an irritable mood while Buddy was groomed (who howled throughout). When I tried to take a photo of my clean, white German Shepherd, he refused to put his ears up and stuck out his tongue. This is why I hated managing employees, they were all prima donnas.

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The Dog Star: The Three Tests

(The Dog Star is a symbol of power, will, and steadfastness of purpose, and exemplifies the One who has succeeded in bridging the lower and higher consciousness. – Astrological Definition)

When my dogs encounter something new for the first time, they immediately check to see if it’s edible. You should be checking with new people as to whether they represent potential business.

If the object is non-edible, which is quickly determined with a few sniffs, they investigate whether they can play with it and move it around. This would be moving non-buyers to help you find buyers.

If the non-edible object can’t be moved and is of no other interest, the dogs will urinate on it to leave their scent and then move on to  more interesting endeavors. This would be you abandoning people who can’t help you and whom you can’t help.

These are metaphors, of course. Usually.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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The Dog Star: Going First

(The Dog Star is a symbol of power, will, and steadfastness of purpose, and exemplifies the One who has succeeded in bridging the lower and higher consciousness. – Astrological Definition)

I’ve made it a habit on the stairs to simply move to the side to allow the dogs to race ahead of me. Sometimes they wait on the landing to see which way I’ll go, and sometimes they’ll proceed down another flight having divined my route through some canine gnostic wisdom.

They do the same entering and leaving vehicles, going into the yard, and so forth. They want to be leading the pack.

Nathan Bedford Forrest, the Confederate Civil War General, explained his considerable battle successes by stating, “I git there firstest with the mostest.” Whether true or apocryphal, the strategy is good sense.

A great many clients seek instant gratification. (I know I usually do.) They sometimes don’t see sufficient differentiation, and simply choose the first alternative, assuming all succeeding ones will be of about the same quality. They often have a real sense of urgency and don’t have the luxury of examining further options. (“The absolute best heart surgeon is three days away. We think you have about 24 hours.” “Okay, let’s go with the doc who’s here!”)

Don’t be tentative or afraid. Get in there first. When you’re 80% ready, move. You can always make mid-course corrections. Too many people are 100% prepared but no one needs them any more.

Possession may be nine-tenths of the law, but being in front of a buyer or opportunity first is ten-tenths of the business.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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The Dog Star: The Morning News

(The Dog Star is a symbol of power, will, and steadfastness of purpose, and exemplifies the One who has succeeded in bridging the lower and higher consciousness. – Astrological Definition)

I was watching the boys this morning when I let them out before we went for coffee. Buddy  sniffs everywhere, and Bentley does some sniffing and some watching. I’ve read that dogs can tell what animals passed through a yard the night prior, their gender, and approximate age; and they can also sense and find new growth, tunneling animals and insects, and other changing developments.

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In other words, while they’re doing their business they’re also reading their edition of the morning newspaper.

It’s always struck me that many people begin and continue their day ignorant of recent events. I remember one guy saying to me, astonished, the following afternoon of the event, “Elvis died?!” Some people don’t know as I write this that an entire Malaysia Airlines 777 is missing at sea and presumed down, cause unknown.

I’ve never had much connection with people who proudly claim they never listen to or read the news. Twitter isn’t going to keep you informed. If we’re to help our clients and support our families, it’s a responsibility to understand what’s happening in the world around us. That knowledge makes us not just more competent, but better people, able to help and support others more effectively.

Buddy and Bentley do this by habit, and they’re quite efficacious. That’s why I don’t allow them to use the Internet. If they did may just be talking to another dog, too lazy to do his own sniffing.

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© Alan Weiss 2014

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The Dog Star: Beagles and BMWs

Beagles are miracles of engineering. Bentley, my German Shepherd, can smell about six million times better than a human I’d guess, but Buddy Beagle can smell six millions times better than Bentley. Beagles are built to hunt vermin, so they are low to the ground, from whence they can easily pick up scents (Bentley’s legs are long for running and sight). Beagles have some horrific teeth for their size and can easily dispatch vermin. Of course, if Buddy successfully tracked a mouse, he’d call the exterminator before he touched it.

BMW makes cars, and obviously without the intelligence that designed dogs. My 2013 X5 truck has the most confusing computer/electronic controls I’ve ever seen, nothing at all intuitive, far inferior to my Bentleys and Corvette. Yet this is supposed to be a daily vehicle, easy to use, not an exotic car.

I’ve mastered what I need to drive it, but Buddy has mastered much more than that. It seems that BMW’s controls on the console and doors are easily accessible to small paws. Bentley can’t affect them, but Buddy regularly does. He has his own playlist on the radio. I went in for coffee this  morning playing Sinatra, and I came out to the Nylons. I let the tracks keep playing, and Buddy had an outstanding list going.

From the coffee shop, I have to make sure Buddy doesn’t open the passenger front window, which can’t be locked out, due to BMW’s poor engineering. When he opens it, Bentley leans out and if he sees another dog, he’s going to rocket after it. I can’t take the dogs all over like a once did in the Mercedes and simply lock the truck, because BMW doesn’t allow you to disable the alarm’s motion sensor. So once I lock the doors, the dogs trigger the alarm in about 30 seconds.

I recently had the BMW in for service. I asked them for the second time to ensure that ALL doors unlock when the driver’s door is unlocked. They assured me they would. That still doesn’t work. I’m now going to persuade Buddy to show me how with some choice bacon strips.

Whether you believe in evolution or intelligent design or a combination thereof, we can agree that it has worked well with Beagles but not BMW.

 

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© Alan Weiss 2015

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The Dog Star: Chasing Squirrels

(The Dog Star is a symbol of power, will, and steadfastness of purpose, and exemplifies the One who has succeeded in bridging the lower and higher consciousness. – Astrological Definition)

Sometimes Bentley doesn’t chase the right squirrel. He’ll see one nearby, standing under a tree, and take off after it, even through the squirrel can immediately escape up the tree. Meanwhile, another squirrel, isolated in the middle of the yard, escapes because Bentley didn’t realize he had a better chance of running it down even though it was farther away.

We seem to often do the same, lunging at what appears near instead of what is more likely: taking meetings with non-buyers who can’t help us instead of putting more thought into finding the real buyer; settling for what a client wants, and merely providing a commodity solution, instead of determining what’s really needed and providing a far more valuable improvement; taking quick cash instead of pursuing a long-term relationship.

We need to think more deeply and apply more rationale to what we pursue. If Bentley is at all like his predecessor, Koufax, he’ll learn this by about two years of age, and start running between the squirrels and the trees. If he can learn that, I’d imagine you can, too.

Of course, Bentley does this for sport, and his food, shelter, and livelihood are not dependent on pursuing the right squirrel.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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The Dog Star: Easing Into the Turns

When the dogs and I go for coffee in the mornings, the two of them race out of the bedroom and down the hall. They come to a 90-degree left turn to another hall in order to reach the stairs leading to the next level. The floors are wood and the dogs’ claws grow quite rapidly, undermining traction, despite paw pads.

Buddy learned years ago to ease into the turn. Bentley, seeking to be alpha dog and lead the way, used his only speed—flat out—and caused a wreck in the turn that would have brought the crash trucks out at Indy. After several of these collisions, he now eases into the turn. He reduces speed and, with his higher center-of-gravity than Buddy’s, leans into it.

Slowing down and adjusting your position can often accelerate your progress. I’m a believer in speed, but more so in success. Once you know the turn, you can adjust in advance. If you are unfamiliar with the turn, you have to be more agile and circumspect as you enter it.

I suggest that you continually test the road—see buyers, submit proposals, make speeches, try new methodologies—so that there are few surprises. After all, I’ve never encountered a road that goes straight up or forms a wall. After a while, if you drive often enough, you can accurately judge what’s coming. Therefore, no objection should throw you, no environment should threaten you, no buyer should intimidate you.

Of course, some of you may be on an eternal straightaway, avoiding all risky turns, and headed to nowhere. Perhaps now is a good time for a pit stop.

© Alan Weiss 2013

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