Which dog are you feeding?

Photo courtesy of Bruce Fingerhood (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Bruce Fingerhood (Creative Commons)

I have fallen into the trap too many times. I have a plan for the day which makes perfect sense on paper – a way to get tons of work done and check lots off my list. Then I get to work.

The phone starts ringing; there are interruptions, issues with the registers, problems with the computers, questions, complaints – yikes! It’s midmorning and I’ve finished nothing, I’m facing a larger stack of work, and there are scribbled additions to my list of things to do.

At that point, I often fall into the hole of negativity – it’s hard not to fall in. If it feels like everything is going all wrong, the easiest thing to do is to sink down and start making your excuses.

But that doesn’t help get the work done, and really doesn’t even make you feel any better.

I am determined to find a better way.

I’m reading a book called The Way of the SEAL by Mark Divine, a former Navy SEAL, and he describes Fear Dog and Courage Dog. His question is, “which dog are you feeding?”

As he explains, “Negative thoughts and energy feed Fear Dog, weakening us, leading to performance degradation and poor health. We can lock Fear Dog up and redirect his energy into assertiveness and discipline. Meanwhile, we need to feed Courage Dog, Positive thoughts and energy feed Courage Dog, strengthening the mind, body, and spirit. Feeding Courage Dog makes us more kind, patient, tolerant, powerful, and present. We’ll avoid conflict and become better leaders. We won’t hesitate to lean in to the hard tasks; fear won’t control us.”

I’ve been paying more attention since I read that and realize that I do often feed the wrong dog. With that in mind now, I find it easier to steer away from that cycle of negative thoughts and self-talk. I’m better able to keep Fear Dog kenneled, and focus on nourishing Courage Dog.

Staying positive makes me much more productive, even with the interruptions and challenges. Instead of stewing in the unpleasantness of the situation, I can refocus and get back to work. In fact, if I make it a game, then the interruptions are just part of it – I see how much I can accomplish before the next interruption comes!

How can you make sure you are feeding the right dog?

2 thoughts on “Which dog are you feeding?

  1. Great post. I have been struggling up until recently with the negative in my life and in my head. Now, I have feeding the courage dog more frequently. Thanks for your perspective.

    • Pat – so nice to see you here. I’ve been struggling lately too, and the idea of the two dogs really hit home with me – I am definitely feeding courage dog treats now!

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