— By Ridgely Goldsborough
My Dad’s seeing-eye dog, a golden retriever named Nashua, draws a lot of attention. People flock to pet him, kneel down and mumble dog talk. Each time, my Dad gently yet firmly asks them to step back. Nashua doesn’t play when he works.
I marvel at the way Nashua negotiates his way around obstacles, stops at any change of height in his path and always remembers where we last parked the car. It doesn’t matter if other dogs bark, charge across the yard or come up to sniff his snout. He ignores all of it. I’ve watched him glance at a cat and not even flinch. When he works, he works.
Out of the harness, Nashua frolics about with boundless energy, jumps in the air for no reason, fetches tennis balls for hours and rolls blissfully in the mud. He chases squirrels, chews up sticks and laps the yard as fast as his paws can churn. When he plays, he plays.
We can learn a lot from Nashua. Most of us lack focus. At work, we think about what to do after hours. At home, we think about work. Work and play become jumbled and inter-mingled into a confusing ball of mess.
Your family loves you but they really don’t care how brutal a day you had. Their day felt just as tough to them. When you come home, they want YOU – not half of you, part of you or whatever small sliver you can carve for them from your distractions.
I’m terrible in this department. I constantly fret about columns or finances, the fact that a book layout didn’t look right or any number of details that should rest in peace in my office. My kids neither understand nor dispense any sympathy. They want to climb on my shoulders, present a new drawing, go swimming and negotiate for cookies all at the same time. I’m their Dad. When I come home, they expect me to show up, as does Alison and rightly so. We wear many hats in this world… all of them important. Our loved ones deserve to top the list.
Train yourself to focus. Start with the little things and build the “focus muscle.” If the radio pulls you into daydreams, turn it off. If your co-workers constantly gossip, close the door to your office, block off your cubicle or ask to be re-located. When at work, work. Let others know not to distract you. Once you truly value your time, others will respect it as well.
When you leave, leave. Your tribulations won’t abandon you. They have unerring patience. You’ll find them exactly where you left them.
When it’s time to play, play. Give of yourself to the people that you care about. Get ready to receive, ’cause they will want to give back.
Cast your work harness aside and make space for playtime.
It might even keep you out of the doghouse.
Ridgely Goldsborough is a sought-after speaker and trainer who conducts fifty-plus seminars annually. He is the creator of TSTN’s Modest to Millions series, which chronicles the principles of prosperity and wealth creation according to highly successful self-made individuals. Visit his site at: AvatarFormula.com