Dog Day Afternoon

I was bitten by a dog this week.

Not seriously and, given the circumstances, I don’t expect to be foaming at the mouth anytime soon.

And, in the dog’s defense, it was mostly my fault.

I was visiting my client Paul at his office Monday afternoon. As we were exchanging greetings, I was happily surprised to see a smallish, black dog stroll by.

I’m a big fan of clothing-free workspaces and so I leaned over to scratch him (the dog, not Paul).

He seemed to like it, so I did what I always do with my dog: I put my face right up to his while scratching him behind both ears.

In hindsight, pretty dumb with a dog I didn’t know. But still fine.

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In fact it wasn’t until about ten minutes later, when the dog walked through our meeting and I put my hand out, that he nipped my arm.

Nothing terrible, but enough to leave a couple of marks, right through my heavy sweater.

That’s when the obvious finally dawned on me: Not all dogs are the same.

My dog Abbie, for example, is not the least bit aggressive.

You can pull on her ears; play tug of war with her favorite toy; insert your favorite child and/or body part in her mouth, and she will make no move to harm you.

And so over the past 10+ years of living with Abbie, I’ve literally let my guard down around all dogs, resulting in Monday’s incident. (Note to Paul: You will be hearing from my attorney.)

One bright spot, though: It woke me up regarding my business.

Here’s what I mean…

Over the past 15 years working as a solo, I’ve come to do things a certain way.

I have a consistent approach to the way I write proposals, organize my web site, market my products, invoice my clients, package my services, publish my newsletter, etc. … most of which haven’t changed – or even been thought about – for years.

There’s some efficiency in this, of course; you’ll never get anything done if you have to reinvent everything, every day.

But, like a man who’s come to treat every dog the same – regardless of size, type or circumstance – there’s a cost to the, “that’s the way we do it around here,” tunnel vision that I’ve developed.

It means I overlook potential improvements; ignore new opportunities; and continue to do things that, while they may have once made perfect sense, no longer do.

And that’s why for 2016, I’ve decided that I will no longer bite visitors to my office.

Not only that, I will focus on reinventing the way I do business, with a particular emphasis on breaking old patterns and seeking new, previously ignored, opportunities.

I expect to get more done, earn more money and increase my overall work satisfaction. I’m kind of looking forward to my new adventure too.

And speaking of big plans for the new year, post your own, original haiku describing how you intend to improve your business in 2016 in our comments section below (along with any other, completely irrelevant thoughts).

I’ll pick the one I like most and will send one lucky winner a year’s supply of dog food. I mean, an official blue penguin USB drive.

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52 thoughts on “Dog Day Afternoon

  1. Diane

    Great, inspiring article Michael. Just what I needed today.

    A change of venue:
    New brand strategy takes flight
    Smiling shore to shore

    Brought to you today by Bad Poets On The Lake.

  2. Charles

    Go get another client
    Follow up without being silent

    Be are real go-getter
    Continue tweaking the funny, video newsletter

    Be fat and happy, not happy and fat
    Listen intently, to one Michael Katz!

  3. Rachel Beohm

    Excited to see your fresh new ideas, even if it meant someone had to bite you.

    Funny, I wrote a blog this week on a similar theme, which is coming out in today’s newsletter! Great minds…

    Here’s my haiku:

    No hiding, doubting
    Now: gratitude, abundance
    Big, bold, confident

  4. Joyce Hollman

    I’ve just found my niche!
    Work to become an expert,
    Confidence will grow!

    That about sums it up right now! Except for the fact that I’m doing this around my (exhausting) teaching job, but I’ve chosen to focus this haiku on my forward movement, rather than my frustrations.

  5. cindi

    Narrow my focus
    And choose a product to launch
    Then launch it I will*

    *Mixing my haiku with a bit of Yoda syntax, in honor of the opening day of Star Wars 🙂

  6. Myla Rosebaugh

    I love Penguins
    I love writing words
    I love expanding words for clients.

    I love cute disguises
    I love smiles
    I love joyous Penguins full of words

    (I love Penguins so that I HAD to capitalize it.)

  7. Gina Longo

    Great contest!

    My haiku:

    Grass peeks through snow’s veil
    As I set my writing sail
    To catch a fair wind.


      1. Gina

        Thank you! I enjoyed writing it. Thanks for the newsletters — I always look forward to reading them. Happy Holidays! 🙂

  8. Dave Weir

    -Remember that today is a gift, things can always be worse and
    -When the going gets tough, there’s always a new bourbon to try.
    Send the penguin drive regular mail, no need for express delivery….

    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Is that what they mean by “the assumptive close,” Dave? (Bourbon in the mail soon, either way….)

  9. Robin Eichert

    I caught the bug and couldn’t stop with just one!

    Share dog-inspired
    Leadership lessons online
    Through new videos

    Not quite as eloquent as some of your other entries, but I had fun! Happy New Year to all!

  10. Fernando

    Deal with every customer the way I perceive you do with us: transmitting my message and providing my services from the bottom of my heart, plenty of light and great and honest wishes! Thanks for all, Mr. Penguin 😉


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