I recently started paying attention to which paw Henrietta used. Why? Bored? Intrigued? Let’s go with intrigued and curious as to whether my poodle is left- or right pawed. I found, after somewhat careful observation that she appears to favor her left paw.
How did I come to my oh-so-scientific conclusion?
- When I stop petting her she will scratch me with her left paw
- When I get her dressed to go out, she always comes to my left side
- When getting dressed, she always lifts her left paw first to be put into her pajamas
- When she sleeps she sleeps on her left side
- When she sits on my lap she leans on me with her left side
- More importantly in my scientific study… when she loses a treat under a chair or her food dish, she digs with her left paw
I know Henrietta always takes top billing in the blog. Why? Because she is demanding, and a diva, and I let her. Spenser, however, was always happy to toil away in almost obscurity. He was a loveable lug who didn’t need or crave the spotlight. Now he is front and center and will be forever missed.
As our son, Nicholas, shared in a Facebook post, “RIP Spenser. Had 12 great years together. You were one rambunctious beast of a dog that was terrified of vacuum cleaners, you will be missed!!” Our daughter, Alexa, tried to sum up in hers, “I lost my best friend today and I feel like a piece of my heart went with him. I love you so much and miss you already, Spenser Elizabeth.”
We lost our beloved Spenser yesterday, January 14, 2016 to cancer. I’m afraid it will be a date whose anniversary we will mark with tears for many years to come. My husband, Tim, marked Spenser’s passing over the Rainbow Bridge by posting a selfie — he’s a man of few words.
We rescued Spenser when he was a tiny puppy. Our neighbors owned him but neglected him. They had this tiny puppy tied to the bumper of their car with a chain around his neck in the cold, rainy month of October. We would go over and feed and pet him. It got to the point — after not too many days — when I couldn’t take it any more. I went over and yelled at them for mistreating him and threatened, “I’ll either call the cops or take him home if you don’t take care of him.” They responded, “take him.” Gulp! What?! We hadn’t planned on a second dog. There had been no family discussion on getting a puppy. We weren’t prepared. But, take him I did. What did we have ready for a new puppy? A family with open hearts and a love of animals.
It took us a few days to come up with his name, Spenser. We named him after a character in Robert B. Parker books. He was, as Nicholas stated, rambunctious. Spenser never outgrew the “puppy” stage. He enthusiastically greeted anyone who came to our door. When the kids’ friends came over, Spenser would shove himself between their legs and they’d be lifted off the ground. Not sure if he was trying to be a pony, but they all seemed to get rides from him.
Because of his breed — a husky-lab mix — he blew his coat many times a year. It was a never ending battle to keep the hair off the couches and our clothes. Running the vacuum sent Spenser into a frantic race around the house; it terrified him.
We tried the crating route when he was a puppy. No matter what kind of crate we tried, he could dig or shove his way out of it. After having purchased more than a few to try and contain him, we gave up. He did destroy our carpet when he was a puppy by digging to get into a room with a closed door, but other than that he never made a mess or destroyed anything.
Spenser was the kind of dog you could offer a piece of food to and he would take it so gently you’d allow a baby to feed him. Unlike his sister, Henrietta, who we have to say, “take it nice” about a dozen times and even then it’s a crap shoot on whether you will come away with all of your fingertips.
He was also the family “bone-breaker.” His enthusiasm and strength also lead to my having a broken foot and to having screws in it. I was taking him out before bedtime about eight years ago, he dragged me and broke a lot of bones in my foot when I fell. After my surgery for that I was too nervous to walk him again. Tim usually did have walking duties so that wasn’t a big deal for him. About five years ago Spenser dragged Tim off the porch and that lead to Tim having a broken collar bone. No matter all of that though, he was a gentle giant. He rarely barked, but when he did you know it was for a legitimate reason, not for a leaf blowing across the yard (hint, hint, Henrietta!) Even though I was home with Spenser all day, he was “Tim’s dog” and followed him like a shadow, slept by his side of the bed — always — and looked to him for attention. Spenser loved all of us, but he was definitely Tim’s best friend.
Every time I walked the Hen, day or night, Spenser would position himself in the living room window and watch us. I always felt safe with him there, guarding us. He loved walks and loved meeting new people every time we were out.
When he wanted attention, he would come and lean on you. When a 100+ pound dog leans on you, you pay attention!
For some reason, and it was one of his quirks, he did not like if you pulled your sleeves down over your hands. He’d pace back and forth, shove his nose into the sleeve and generally seem upset until you popped your hands back out again.
It’s odd how your routines change so quickly. Only one dog to feed. I am now responsible for turning off the outside lights and locking the doors because I will be the last one out when I walk Henrietta before bedtime. Not a big deal in the scheme of most people’s lives, but a huge shift in the routine of the past 12 years.
We were with him when his soul left his body.
He loved fruits and vegetables just as much as he loved steak and chicken.
He loved riding in the car.
He loved lying out in the snow in the winter and reveled in the cold.
He loved lying with the cats.
He loved putting his head in our laps when we sat on the couch.
He loved us. We loved him. He left a space in our hearts that will never be filled. Run free and without pain on that Rainbow Bridge, Spenser.
Henrietta, the diva poodle, has the life. She sleeps when she wants. Gets love when she needs it. Eats kind of on the schedule I set for her but with vegetables and fruits in between. After having some down time this past week and fighting a cold or some such bug I watched how Henrietta, the cats and Spenser approach their days. When I did that I came to the realization hat I want to live my life like my poodle does. What does that mean?
Every day is the best day ever.
This is the time of year when many of us have great resolve to set resolutions for the New Year. Before you get too heavily into that I urge you to reconsider. Statistically, more than half of us abandon our resolutions before the month of January is out. Why? It’s simply too much pressure to put on yourself. That’s the first reason. The second is that many of us set vague resolutions such as, “I want to blog more.” In order to help your resolutions — scratch that — your New Year’s Intentions work they need to be S.M.A.R.T. intentions. What is S.M.A.R.T.?
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic
T – Time based
The example above, “I want to blog more” doesn’t fit the SMART goal pattern. Why? It’s not specific. Saying I want “to blog three times a week” is better because it’s Specific. “Blog more…” more than what? More than whom? More than… see it’s too vague. When you add in the “three times a week” you have made it Measurable. Is it Attainable? Only you will know what your bandwidth is. Is blogging “three times a week” Realistic for you? Again, only you will know for sure. “Blogging three times a week” is definitely Time-Based especially if you mean a seven day week.
Now you can see that “I want to blog more” is not a SMART goal, but “I want to blog three times a week” is.
As we kick off 2016 one of my SMART goals is to “blog once a week” on my own blog. My client’s blogs get so much attention and so many new blog posts, that I am like the cobbler whose children have holey shoes. This year my blog will be loved as much as my client’s blogs are.
What SMART goals are you setting for yourself? If they have to do with time/task management, please reach out and let’s see how we can work together!
What do you need to help your business grow to new heights in 2016?
I’m now 17 days into National Novel Writing Month (#NANOWRIMO) I am ahead of the word count. Wisdom shows that to complete a 50,000 word novel in 30 days you need to write 1,667 words per day. I am averaging about 1,774. Those additional 107 words might not seem like much, but if I keep up with the additional words daily I can essentially “take a day off” from working on my novel and not fall behind.
Why did I decided to write a novel in a month? Frankly it was because I have been spending too much time telling myself, “I can’t get to my own blogging because I am far too busy with my client work.” Well, guess what people? I have been getting up at my usual time and spending the first hour working on my novel. What?! Yes. I apparently do have an hour a day in which I can pen 1,700 words on my novel. Guess what that means? It also means that once December 1 rolls around I have no excuse to not do my own writing because NANO has shown me my “I’m too busy…” was an excuse.
Here, too is what #NANOWRIMO is teaching me about task management
I will be the very first to admit that time changes — whether from East coast to West coast or the “falling back” and “springing ahead” that we do in most parts of the country wreak havoc with my sleep cycle. I will spend the first week of the daylight savings time change saying, “Well, sure the clock reads noon but it’s really 1 pm.” Drives the family crazy! However, for a busy entrepreneur you might want to look at daylight savings time — especially in the autumn — as a gift of an additional hour. How you use that hour will determine how productive, or not, you are.
Here are some of my thoughts on how to wrangle the most of that hour we’ve just been given. (HINT: These tips are good year-round and work even if your state doesn’t participate in daylight savings time — Arizona!)
Hit the delete key.
I mean this both literally and figuratively. If you find that your to-do list isn’t getting done at the end of a day and you’re “carrying stuff over” to the next day. Take a look at
- Which items are getting carried over
- How often the same items are getting carried over
- Which items you’re doing first
Looking at this information might help you to realize that you either have too much on your list or you have low-priority items on your list that are a breeze to complete so you do those rather than your high priority items which will take more time or brainpower.
Powered up for profits is what I have been since returning from hearing Kathleen Gage speak at a conference in Bellevue, Washington. I wasn’t certain what to expect, but as with any conference I attend I have my notebook in hand and am open to learn from both the speaker and with my fellow attendees. As a side note I write on a notebook rather than type into my laptop because I find I retain information better when it goes from brain to fingers to paper than I do when I mindlessly type into my laptop. Maybe it’s because I am a fast typer and can type every word someone says or maybe it’s because when I type when I am listening to someone talk I kind of zone out. I did not want to zone out at this three day event.
Here are some of the lessons I learned from the Power Up For Profits event. Kathleen shared that, “The greatest business opportunity is when there is a downturn in the economy.” Interesting, but it made sense.
On the first day she cautioned us to not use “lack talking.” This is that talk when you say, “I would do that if only I had the …. fill in the blank… money, time, energy.” We were supposed to listen to our own self-talk and the talk of others and see if we could go the weekend without having lack talking come into our conversations. She said that when you say, “I can’t afford it,” you should turn it around and ask yourself, “What can I do to make it possible?”
“Luck is where opportunity and preparedness meet.”
What are the three reasons we don’t do what we want to/should do?
- Aversion to risk
She also told attendees that you need to “know your ‘why.'” You need to “know it and shout it.” The why is:
- What you do
- Whom you do it for
- How it helps your client
“Massive actions = massive results.”
How can you assess where you are in your business?
- Who you are
- What your expertise is
- What others expect of you
Once you know this you can attract your perfect client.
“It’s not what happens in life, it’s what you do with it.”
Kathleen asked us, “What’s the next one small thing you could do to move yourself and your business forward?” She then shared:
- Ideas aren’t the issue, implementation is
- Launch first. Create later.
- You need to own your message
- Procrastination is fear-based
She also told us to, “Stop trading dollars for hours.” You need to set yourself up for sustainable income streams, she said.
This was a quote that hit home with me, “God’s delays are not God’s denials.”
I came home from the three day weekend with ideas, inspiration and have already implemented one or two of them already. I have my Power Up For Profits workbook at the side of my desk and I thumb through it, and my notes, when I need inspiration. Thank you, Kathleen, for an inspiring weekend!
(Photo is from when I met Kathleen for the first time at the Women In The Pet Industry Network Conference in Oregon in August)
(Photo from Kathleen speaking on stage at her event in October)
I have completed NANO (National Novel In A Month) more than once. I have close to 150,000 words under my belt for the NANO’s I have participated in (130,105 to be exact). Why do I, a nonfiction writer by trade feel the need to immerse myself in a novel for an entire month? On occasion I get bitten by the fiction bug. This year, I have become enamored of cozy mysteries, especially those by Rose Pressey. I love the small town feel and the haunted aspects and, of course, the mystery.
This year I am taking a mystery writing class at Writers And Books that starts the first Monday of November so I am imagining that this will inspire me to complete my novel again this year. Are the 50,000 words that I pen during the month of November publishable as is? Hell no! Are they a great jumping off point for polishing and editing? Hell yes!
What does a 50,000 word novel break down to? It’s 1,666.6 words per day — let’s just round it up to 1,667, shall we? Today, alone I have penned more than 5,500 words for my clients and my newsletters. I probably typically write about that many “client” words per day and now I will be adding in an additional 1,667 “Robbi fiction words” per day. Crazy? Perhaps. Will I need to bring all of my time management and productivity skills and knowledge to the forefront? You bet I will!
If you’re doing NANO send me a friend request and let’s motivate one another. Ready. Set. Go!
Entrepreneurs and Halloween? Is there a connection? There is!
Many entrepreneurs and solopreneurs — myself included — toil away, stuck in our routines, not interacting with humans other than via social media. When Halloween rolls around though, we should tap into our inner child and amp up our entrepreneurial endeavors. Here are the lessons entrepreneurs can learn from Halloween.
Sure, there will be a lot of Disney and Star Wars characters walking the streets this Halloween-eve. There will also be those ingenuous kids who had a dream of a costume and a parent who helped make it come true. You will see robots made of cardboard boxes, clowns, crazy cat lady costumes and myriad others that sprang forth from the mind of a child. Consider your entrepreneurial uniqueness, embrace it and note how you set yourself apart from the competition.
Take joy in what you do.
Have you ever seen a child who isn’t giggling or squealing or even crying in fright on Halloween? Probably not. Even when being scared, these children are enjoying the heck out of the trick-or-treating experience. You need to take such extreme joy in what you do and the services and products that you provide your clients that your joy is infectious. Smile when you answer the phone. Enthusiastically greet prospective and current clients. Embrace your passion!
Take a chance.
When these children march up the stairs to a stranger’s home to yell, “Trick or treat!” they don’t know who is going to answer. Sure, they have the safety net of their parents or older siblings waiting at the bottom of the stairs, but you just never know. Will you get a king size candy bar or will you get an apple? You don’t know. Even with the unknown, these children are thrilled to walk up and knock on the door because they know that every door is a different opportunity. In your business you need to take chances. Launch a new product. Try out a new service. Take a chance. If you do something — ie, start a newsletter and no one signs up — what have you lost? Nothing. Don’t consider it a failure, consider everything new you try as an experiment.
What lessons will you take away from Halloween this year?