At The Intersection of Business and Philosophy There Is Growth: What I’ve Learned in My Decade Plus in the Dog Daycare Industry

Hey Kid,

Look at you.  You’re really doing this thing!  Those big dreams of the little girl nicknamed the “Dog Girl” in your small town have been manifest into a fully-fledged business with a large clientele and an impressive employee roster.  The long days in which you wore every hat in your very small business seem like ages ago as you now delegate with the swiftness and ease of a seasoned haberdasher.  What you didn’t know back then that I will tell you now is that while your work processes will change, your workload will not.  Each step up the spiral staircase will provide a new perspective, but each vantage point is relative – Mount Monadnock seems high whence you’ve reached its peak, until you venture to the top of Mount Washington.  You will make mistakes.  Some minor.  Some costly.  You will learn from them all.  You will have errors in judgment that make you question your intuition, your analytic reasoning, your EQ and your IQ.  You will be dismissive of things that require reverence and vigilant about things that are inconsequential. But when you know better, you will do better.

Please keep in mind that most people are doing the best that they can with the tools that they have. Some have been blessed with a larger toolbox than others.  Some have actively worked to increase the size of their toolbox.  When possible, attempt to avoid the people who are ignorant of tools and blind to toolboxes.  They may come around to see the value in such things, but it’s not your job to teach them such reflectivity.  

Surround yourself with people who appreciate hard work and value what you’ve built.  Aim to create a space that is inclusive and fair but be mindful that there is an opportunity cost for the time and energy that you invest in your business.  Time and energy are your most valuable resources, and in fairness to your family, you must also value yourself.   You will work because you glean satisfaction and purpose from it.  But you also work for them.  

While innate wiring is a strong determinant of behavior, know that both people and dogs can change through training, effort, and the natural passage of time and neural development.  Know this about yourself as well.

People will mistake kindness for weakness no matter how much they know better.  You will too.  If you succeed in overcoming this heuristic error, then please tell me how.

The more your business and family grow, the more they will need to hold space in your brain and heart.  This will become overwhelming at times leading to synaptic gaps like leaving your son’s backpack in his preschool parking lot or referring to clients by their dog’s name.  When this starts to happen more frequently, know that the CNN news ticker in your brainstem needs to be turned off so you can recharge.  Be kind to yourself when you do this.

One thing that will always be true is this: the love people feel for their children and their dogs is both universal and specific. Make decisions that honor that truth.  I know you will.

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