Work like a dog.
Matt Weinstein happened to be speaking at the same conference that I was, and he made a startling statement. Matt said that success can be attained if you just “Work like a dog.” That caught my attention, but it sounded awful.
But then Matt explained. Dogs don’t know the difference between work and play. Dogs find fun in everything, and they’re always excited to see you. And I thought, “Yeah, that’s the way it should be on an off the job.” Fun and exciting.
But Matt didn’t leave us with that simple bit of advice…to work like a dog. He suggested that we break his advice into four easy-to-remember elements. I think they’re right on target — but let me warn you, if you’ve got a bunch of degrees and a big fancy title behind your name, you may be offended by these four elements. After all, you may think they’re too “simplistic.” So be it. I know they work.
=> 1. Row, row, row your boat.
I’m sure you remember the children’s song that started with these words. They told us — somewhat subtly — that we had to row the boat. Success would not simply be given to us. We would have to work for it.
But work doesn’t have to be all drudgery. Rowing a boat can be fun. And helping someone else row their boat can even be rewarding. Wells Fargo used that approach to transform their work culture.
The bank gave each employee a $35 certificate to give to the one person who did the most to support them in their job. The recipient of the $35 could then spend it any way he or she desired.
But to make it even more fun, the 35 people who received the most certificates were invited to a special dinner with the CEO and the Board of Directors. That was nice, but the real treat came when the top recipients got to pick out an extra special prize. And there were many things to pick from — such as a $200 shopping spree at Banana Republic, a week off with pay, a month’s mortgage or rent payment, a two-hour massage on company time, house cleaning for 6 months, or having the CEO do your job for a day. They learned how to work and have fun at the same time.
=> 2. Gently down the stream.
Yes, you’ve got to row your boat. But the children’s song also tells you to row your boat “gently down the stream.”
Notice, the song doesn’t say “wander down the stream,” going wherever the winds and currents take you. And the song doesn’t say “paddle like h—.” It says you are to go “gently.”
How would you describe your work habits and life style? Would you say that you’re rowing “gently down the stream?” Or are you more frantic, frazzled, and fried?
I find too many people in the latter category. They’re burned out. They have an obsession with possessions. They’re always trying to get more.
And I’ve heard so many others talk about learning the hard way. They say, “I’d give every dollar I have if I could just get my health back.” They refused to go “gently down the stream,” and now they’re having to pay the price.
By contrast, no one ever says, “I’d give up my health if I could just get a few more bucks.” No one ever says that, but a lot of people live as though they believe it.
The truth is you have to go “gently down the stream.” And that’s exactly what my CD on “Visualizing Success” will do for you. It will teach you to relax your body and relax your mind, and it will show you how to easily and effortlessly visualize and achieve your goals — whatever they may be. In fact, it’s a technique used by all the Olympic stars, and you can use the same technique as well. I’d advise you to try it.
=> 3. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily.
Interestingly enough, the children’s song used the word “merrily” four times. Perhaps there’s a subtle message there — that we should have about four times as much fun at work as we’re having.
So look for it and share it. It could be as simple as encouraging a coworker. The author Celeste Holmes said, “We live by encouragement. We die without it…sadly, slowly, angrily.”
Or you could design the fun. Consultant Steve Saffron is a master at that. He’s learned how to bring good clean fun into the workplace, and he’s learned how to make difficult situations a bit more merry. When he dies, Steve wants his casket to be set up in such a way that when a person approaches the casket, he/she would trip a lever. A hand would wave and a voice would be activated that says, “I’m glad you came. Leave a message, and I’ll get back to you.”
=> 4. Life is a but a dream.
Of course that sounds a bit Pollyannish when you think about all the troubles in the world. And there are troubles.
But did you ever stop to think that you have the power to make life a bit more like a dream? The movie, “Pay It Forward” showed us that. And there’s actual scientific evidence to back it up. It’s called the “Good Samaritan Syndrome.”
One research project focused on the behavior of people using pay phones. When someone finishes a call and hangs up the phone, he or she almost always checks the coin box to see if any money was returned or left there. Apparently people have a hard time distinguishing between a pay phone and a slot machine.
So a group of experimenters put a little twist on the phenomenon. They went out and put money in the coin return box. And when a person finished his call and looked in the box, he, of course, found and took the money, thinking he had been especially blessed that day.
Not too much later, as the lucky caller walked down the street, he was approached by one of the experimenters carrying a load of books — which he “accidently” dropped. The person who received the money from the pay phone was four times more likely to stop and help than a person who received no money from the pay phone.
The researchers concluded that when “life is a dream” for one person, it more easily transfers to another. So the question is obvious. What are you doing to make life more of a dream for your coworkers, your customers, or even your family members?
Action: Take a look at the four parts of the song:
* Row, row, row your boat,
* Gently down the stream,
* Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
* Life is a but a dream.
Select one part of the song as your focus for the week. Or better yet, let each person on your team select a part that he/she wants to work on.
Then, at your next team meeting, have each person report back one success he or she has had with his/her selection.