For eight long years my partner and I dreamed of getting a dog.
Imagine how awesome it’ll be, we told each other. We envisioned afternoons in the park, mornings at the beach and evening cuddles on the couch. It’d be non-stop fun, adventure and love.
We recently fulfilled this life wish and adopted a beautiful, bouncing Border Collie puppy. He’s intelligent, playful and quite potentially the spawn of some fiery Hellbeast on a mission to ruin our lives.
We love him to bits. But it hasn’t been rainbows, butterflies and fluffy, emotional Kleenex commercials. It’s actually been one of the most challenging times in my life. (Believe me, I know I’m exceptionally privileged and lucky to be able to say that. But bear with me.)
Because you see, amidst the tearful 3am ‘What have I done?’ meltdowns, it hit me:
Raising a dog is a lot like raising a business.
And the lessons and blessings, if you look for them, can often be very, very alike.
Expectations + Reality = WTF
Nothing ever works out the way you expected it to. Those lazy days at the park and cuddly evenings on the couch? Yep, still waiting for them. But I didn’t expect to love the tiny Hellbeast quite this much either.
In the same way, my own business (a creative copywriting agency) doesn’t look and feel how I expected it to either.
Sometimes reality surprises us. But most of the time, it surprises us in a good way.
Stop resisting and surrender.
One of the biggest problems I faced when we adopted Link* – the pint-sized terror – was attempting to separate ‘puppy time’ from my regular life. I wanted to control everything. But Link didn’t give a flying fox about my carefully considered plans. He wanted to play mid-way through a website I was copywriting. He needed to poop when I was trying to do the dishes. He wanted to do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted and it. Stressed. Me. Out.
It wasn’t until I learned to lean in and surrender – instead of resisting his needs and moods – that things started to flow more smoothly.
In the same way, the things that I resist in my business are the things that persist. I’ve learned that sometimes lessons run on replay until we ‘get’ them.
Appearances can be deceiving.
On the outside, it would have seemed like we were having the time of our life with our new puppy. He was adorable, affectionate and loved everyone he encountered. Strangers would often tell us how sweet he was, how lucky we were and how grateful we should be.
On the inside, these statements frustrated me. Yes, we’re lucky. Yes, we’re grateful. But raising a puppy is also bloody hard work! We haven’t slept a full night since Link has come home. Our entire life has changed (I’m sure parents can empathise and understand this one too – we have it easy compared to you guys) and it’s tough.
Just like we see a business on social media and it looks like they’re happy and well-fed and successful and thriving. But what’s happening on the inside? Only they know. And only we know what’s happening inside our business.
Nothing is ever as it seems and appearances can be deceiving.
Real-life application? Time for number four.
Don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s.
If I were to compare Link with the other puppies in his pre-school classes, I’d likely feel pretty sh*tty. Despite his intelligence, or maybe because of his intelligence, Link runs rings around us. Literally and figuratively.
But that doesn’t make Link a bad puppy. It doesn’t make the other puppies better than Link, or more worthy of love. It simply is what it is. Link is who he is. Everyone’s journey is different and none of us know what the future holds.
Everyone has different trials, tests, lessons and blessings. The only thing that’s certain is that we won’t have the same experience and journey as someone else.
But that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s an awesome thing.
Because our journey, whether it’s with a puppy, a business or with life, is magically, wondrously designed just for us.
Makes a person feel pretty darn special, huh?
*Yes, I know ‘Link’ is a weird name. And no, I didn’t realise that ‘hyperlink’ would work so well as his nickname. He’s actually named after a character from the Nintendo video game Legend of Zelda.
GUEST POST BY:
Cassandra Lane is a copywriter and the word nerd behind The Copy Blog and Wild Spirit Copywriting (www.wildspirit.co). She works with clients across the globe to (amongst other things) craft heartfelt sales pages that, well, SELL. Like freshly cooked hotcakes drizzled with the finest Canadian maple syrup imaginable. She’s all about soulful branding, meaningful marketing and creative content that connects you with your dream clients
Find Cassandra at: www.wildspirit.co