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Watching my dog, Maya, is a great source of inspiration and positive emotions for me. Throwing a ball or a Frisbee over and over across a field for her to retrieve can sometimes bring me the same benefit as meditation. She’s a two-year-old German Shepherd with a huge amount of energy. Sometimes she forgets to mind her manners. Ladylike is not the word I would use to describe her. (You should hear her burp. Ugh.) Yet, she has some qualities that we can all benefit from. I’ve often thought that anyone with a goal or say, an entrepreneur with a dream, would do well to emulate Maya when she has her mind set on something she wants.

Maya and I put together some tips so that you, too, can work it like a dog.

6 Ways You Can Work it Like a Dog

1. Never Give Up. Be Relentless. When Maya wants to play ball or fetch, she will follow you around the house trying to push her ball or Frisbee into your hands. You cannot escape her. Want to unload the dishwasher? Maya drops her ball in the dishwasher. Walking on the treadmill? Expect a Frisbee to land under your feet. Maya does not give up. Eventually someone gives in and tosses the ball or rolls it a little distance. But they respond. We think that’s how life is, too. Work it like a dog. Don’t give up. Never stop trying. If you believe in someone, in some cause or a personal dream is worth having, follow Maya’s example and don’t take “no” for answer.

2. Keep Excited, Use Enthusiastic Focus. Maya loves few things more than she loves going to the lake. In fact, when we get about a mile away from it, she KNOWS where she’s going and she cannot sit still. It gets very loud in the Jeep as she barks, turns in circles and tries to climb over the seat. And once we are there? Well, the poor soul left holding the leash better hang on tight, because Maya is going in that lake one way or another. She’s so happy, she can’t think of anything else. Wouldn’t it be great if us humans could be that way even after we aren’t little kids? So excited about our end results, our destinations and our dreams? Maya keeps this enthusiasm whether it’s time for a walk, going outside to see her best friend dog, Freckles (lives next door), or jumping on the trampoline with my son. She approaches life with passion and excitement. Whatever it is, Maya’s down with it. That’s how I want to be, too. It took me awhile but one day I realized that life, living it and just the whole journey of it – good or bad – is a present from God. I think God hopes we will do our best to enjoy the journey like Maya does.

3. Be Loyal to Your Goals. Recover from Disappointment Quickly. Maya is a pro at this. If she doesn’t get to go outside when she wants to, she’ll sit by the door and make little groaning noises. Imagine a dog making that sound a kid makes when told “no.” “awwwwnnnh….” But 5 minutes later, she’s in your face trying to steal a kiss whether you called her over or not. If she gets into trouble for getting in the trash – no worries. She’ll put her head down, fold her ears back and look really, really sad. But the whole time? She’s waiting for a better moment. Maybe she’ll try again. Or maybe she’ll go get her ball and try to get you to play instead. The point is: Maya does not let disappointment ruin her day or her overall mission. I want that personality trait for myself. How many times have I let a discouraging word or experience ruin my whole day? Maya’s got the right idea.

Maya gets kisses

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Close. Maya does have issues with respecting “personal space.” She will randomly get in your face for a kiss or to sniff you. She has to be reminded she is over 75 lbs. and cannot just run and jump into your arms. Maya watches “her” people closely. She reads emotions on faces. If you sit down to enjoy your morning coffee, or to watch T.V., you can expect Maya to push her furry hide right behind your kneecaps where she will stay until you move. She enjoys being close. Humans should also try to get closer to others because they care. Maybe not closer in physical space. If you invade the personal space of someone you don’t know that well, it could lead to negative interaction or possibly an arrest warrant. Still, we can all take the time to chat a little more, ask a few more real questions (not just business) and let those we interact with see that we’re real people.

German Shepherd wearing Santa hat

5. Wag Your Tail Often. Right. If you wag your own tail excessively, you may get some interesting looks. The point here is that Maya is always smiling. Dogs wag their tails when they’re happy. Maya is happy ALOT. That tail wags everywhere. Books get knocked off shelves, glasses turned over and things just go flying when that bionic happy tail starts wagging like crazy.

Maya and I think you should smile like crazy and often. Chaos might ensue at your house, at school or while you are working. But it will be fun AND if you use your smile while pursuing your goals, it’ll work like a magnet. Just ask Maya: Whatever she hits with that happy tail usually causes people to come running.

6. Forgive Quickly. Perhaps one of the most important lessons we can learn as humans: Forgive quickly and let things go. Maya, like most dogs, tends to forgive quickly. Whether it’s accidentally stepping on her paw or telling her to MOVE! in a voice that means business (she was blocking the fridge), Maya recovers quickly and is your best friend a few seconds later. She doesn’t hold it against you and refuse to fetch her frisbee days or weeks later.

Don’t let negative conversations, memories or past hurts take up space in your head. You have enough things to worry about in each day. Not forgiving only hurts you and totally takes the quality out of your daily life. It keeps you from a life you could be having if you weren’t wasting valuable thoughts and mental energy on things from the past or you can’t control.

Forget about things that annoy or nag at you, dump those thoughts as soon as they enter your head. Pick a code word for negative thoughts. As soon as a negative thought, hurtful memory or other wasteful thought enters your mind, identify it and focus on your code word or intentionally re-focus your thought track.

Maya dog goes for a Jeep ride

Me, Maya and Mary on a summer “girls” road trip.