Know what you want, go for it, always appreciate your wins. Most of all, don’t settle for scraps.
When I was eleven, a story that unfolded in front of me unknowingly gave some very powerful lessons on reaching success in life. It was 1982, and my family was sitting down for its Thanksgiving meal. We had two dogs, Blue, yes, named after the lyric “Me And You And A Dog Named Blue”, and Leia, yes, this was the 80’s, and I was a Star Wars fan. Leia was a mixed breed (mutt) we picked up at the ASPCA and was a very loving and playful pup.
It was a normal Thanksgiving in my house, Mom, Dad, me and the two dogs. We happily fixed our plates in the kitchen, took our meals and we sat down and eat. While eating, we noticed that Blue was sitting in the living room looking at us, waiting for scraps, but Leia was nowhere to be found. Normally, she’d be right there as well, looking to take those little bites or morsels. When I got up to take a look to see where Leia had gone off to, I walked into the kitchen, and found that she had taken the Thanksgiving turkey off of the platter, dragged it underneath the table, and was happily eating every delicious bite. So Thanksgiving changed a little bit that year.
Obviously, there was no turkey leftovers, or additional second courses. Looking back on that now, I understood there were three things that really should have stood out, and now I realize it after all these years.
First, Understanding Your Desires.
Here was this animal, pet, family friend, who lived a very comfortable existence. Yet, she would be fed the scraps at the table. She would be giving a glimpse into bigger and better things. Little did we know, that in her mind, she was formulating a plan. She knew what her overall desire or goal was. We as humans do this to, but never moving forward with the next two items makes them pointless. As we dream of doing more with our lives, it is imperative that we know though what truly matters and is important to us.
Second, Take A Chance.
Timing, opportunity — sometimes it’s just about doing something. The dog stepped outside of her normal process of waiting for scraps, and she walked in the other room. She took a chance, and actually was able to have the whole turkey. She did it without looking for approval. Her counterpart, Blue, was right there by us while we were eating. He was in his normal place. He was just like you and I in the corporate world, doing what he was supposed to do, what he’d always done before. Leia took a step outside of that box, and she wasn’t looking for her peers’ approval. As a matter of fact, when we went to go investigate, he actually stood in the doorway, nervously looking at her. He didn’t move forward, as though he had a sense that what she was doing was probably going to get her in trouble.
Finally, Value Your Win.
She dragged the turkey underneath the kitchen table, and deliciously, yet quietly, was munching away. She valued what she had gained, and she was very pleased with that. Of course, taking it away was a little more difficult. Do we do that ourselves with our wins and successes? Do we place the value on our efforts, as much as the prize?
I look back on this now and value that memory, “Here is this life lesson that was learned, from a simple act of a dog stealing the Thanksgiving dinner.”, and I say it with pride as I tell my children.
Always look for the opportunities in the stories of our lives to teach us something. If I can teach the kids to take the whole bird, the leadership and confidence that goes along with this brings us to a place of happiness and success.
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