As I write this article it’s just a week ago that our family had to say goodbye to our much beloved dog. His name was Seve, named after one of my favourite golfers, the Spaniard Seve Ballesteros. A Portuguese water dog, he was with us for 10 fantastic years. His personality was aptly defined by a line I heard while watching the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The breed was described as “highly spirited, requiring an equally spirited owner.” I can confirm that Seve never ran out of energy, and there were certainly many times when my own energy did not match his. He was always ready for a run, a long hike, and chasing a ball at what looked like 30 miles an hour. And if we didn’t get the chance to spend enough time outside, he would turn our house into an indoor racetrack. For those who have lost a pet, you understand that this passage comes with a mixture of sadness as well as great memories, many of which are captured in pictures and videos.
So how does a family dog have anything to do with an article for Inside Logistics? As I reflect on Seve’s life with us, it strikes me that there are some important lessons I can learn. Lessons that are certainly applicable to both our business and personal lives.
First and foremost was his unreserved loyalty, spread equally throughout our family. It didn’t matter which one of us came home, Seve trotted to the door with an excited greeting, his tail wagging and his eyes bright with excitement. What a feeling to return home to his steadfast and enthusiastic welcome.
Over the years we barely trained him to not jump all over us during these greetings, although truth be told we all pushed that training aside often to give him the chance to jump up and at least try for the big lick. His loyalty was there regardless of time of day or night – totally dependable. Even if there weren’t enough walks in the last few days, even if there wasn’t enough time spent chasing the ball, he didn’t hold back for a second. I think we can learn from that loyalty. When our work mates don’t come through as we had hoped, or we have let our teammates down, that’s when loyalty can show up. It keeps relationships moving forward even when there have been bumps in the road.
As exuberant and energetic as Seve was, he also taught me a great deal about patience. The fact is, his choice would have been to run and play for the better part of his life. But living in a house with a busy family meant he spent a fair bit of time waiting for his turn. Waiting for that all-important time outside. And he did this so patiently. He would often spend time with me in my home office. I’d be focused on my emails and getting things done and he’d be lying close by, his eyes always aimed in my direction, patiently waiting for his turn. Honestly, I lack patience in a big way. I’m hardwired to get things done, usually at a pace that bumps up against barriers. No question that there are times when the healthier choice would be to slow down, take a break and learn to wait. In a world where patience is in short supply, it’s worth considering the patience of a loyal companion like Seve.
Lastly and most importantly Seve taught our whole family about the importance of having fun. Yes, life is full of responsibilities and important things we need to do each and every day. Our careers and businesses matter a lot and require diligent and consistent attention. But, without fun (and fun can take on about as many forms as the personalities that exist), life gets pretty tedious. Not only that, without fun we actually become significantly less productive. Watching Seve galloping through snow drifts or running through the woods with a branch in his mouth that was twice his size, one thing was for sure – he was having fun! If you haven’t had any fun in a while, take a page out of his book and make time for it.
Thanks for indulging while I reminisce about our faithful and sometimes crazy family dog. He’ll be missed but never forgotten. His zest for life combined with his loyalty and patience will continue to be inspiring lessons for life both in the office and out of it. Farewell, my faithful friend.