We all find inspirations in different ways — It could be by reading Richard Branson’s ‘The Virgin Way’ or Simon Sinek’s ‘Start with Why’, watching Serena Williams win a Grand Slam tournament, reading a quote by Sheryl Sandberg to Lean In, watching a Ted talk by Brene Brown, or simply looking up to those around us hoping to learn something from them.
Inspirations are also found in our daily surroundings — Our kids, partner, friends, co-workers, or neighbors. Sometimes I catch myself taking my surroundings for granted and it is good to remind myself to look beyond the usual interactions to find those inspirations. The key is to take a pause from our daily grind and observe our surroundings so we can pull learnings and get inspired.
Let me introduce you to Molly – our 10-year-old Yorkshire Terrier. We got her from a nearby rescue center a few years ago and since that moment, my family’s approach to work and life has been transformed incredibly for the better.
Molly inspires us to be a better human being. I want to share some simple lessons that my family is reminded of every day, because of Molly being a part of our lives. Honestly, words cannot do justice to how this beautiful creature of unconditional love impacts our lives. But here are some ways that Molly inspires us, which may be obvious, but as humans, we do forget them and these are great reminders that help us succeed in work and life.
1) Live in the Moment with a People-first Mindset
Molly, like other animals, is amazing, as she never has any regrets about the past. No matter what bad experiences she may have gone through, she lives in the present and never criticizes, condemns, or complains. For example, I believe that if Molly was at work and faced company politics, she will not let politics drag her down and instead will find the best in people around her. We as humans inherently like to complicate things and in the process forget to truly appreciate and live in the now.
“Happiness, not in another place but this place…not for another hour, but this hour.” – Walt Whitman, American Poet.
2) Work Hard. Play Hard. But Most Importantly – Sleep Hard.
Almost 16 years of my career was spent working hard, playing hard but also burning the midnight oil and getting an average of 4 hours of sleep. I had this notion that I was supremely productive by working long hours on multiple priorities and that I was accomplishing incredible things for my company — well, it’s true that I was productive and accomplishing a lot but I was completely burnt out.
Today — I am a completely changed person. I get an average of 7-8 hours of sleep and am a lot more productive and creative than ever before — thanks to Molly and Arianna Huffington. Molly plays catch with us except she doesn’t return the ball back. She loves it when we chase her down but it is impossible to catch her because she runs like a cheetah. She plays hard and then shows us all the importance of resting and sleeping. When I watched Arianna’s talk, it really made me reflect on how pointless it was to burn the midnight oil when without doing that I can be even more strategic and productive. If you haven’t seen Arianna Huffington’s Ted Talk on the importance of sleep – it is a must-watch. It changed my life. Even if your sleep habits don’t change immediately, you will definitely be inspired to work on it.
“I have one piece of advice for you: sleep your way to the top.” – Arianna Huffington, Greek Author & Co-founder of The Huffington Post.
3) Give Laser Focus Attention
The one thing Molly isn’t good at is multi-processing. Whether it is eating her food, chasing squirrels, playing catch or cuddling — she does one activity really well by fully focusing on it. With the advent of smartphones and our constant need for impulsive phone checking, focus is a skill that is becoming absent. Let us discipline and train our mind and body to concentrate and do a few things exceptionally well versus a lot of things just okay.
“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” — Bruce Lee