Listen Like A Dog…and Make Your Mark on the World
Listen Like A Dog. You may get bacon!
My Roamy had it all — looks, personality, sense of humor. He was chairman of the Canine Mensa Society and the instant CEO (Canine Executive Officer) of my home.
Roamy and I forged a bond stronger than Gorilla Glue. We were Butch and Sundance, Laurel and Hardy, Kareem and Magic. He taught me where to stash his treats, what times he liked to eat, the challenges of playing tag on polished tile, and where all the best walking and peeing places were (our favorite was around the marina in Dana Point, where I recall we always passed a boat called Bass Hole).
Nicknames, he had a million of ’em. The Golden Boy. Rocket Dog. The Rebel With the Paws. The Urinator.
On many a night, I would sit up late with Roamy and unburden myself to him. Sometimes for an hour or more. I would talk and Roamy would listen. I swear he would. He may not have understood all the words I was saying, but he understood my feelings and he understood me. Best of all, he didn’t judge me, he didn’t give me advice, he didn’t say, “Don’t worry, you’ll grow from this” He just listened, beaming his love and doggy goodness at me.
These “talks” gave me a wonderful feeling and became routine for me — in the evening after work, at night on the couch, sitting on the grass at the park, any time I felt like it. I would just open up and tell Roamy whatever was on my mind. Maybe it would be a work-related matter I was trying to solve or just the latest injury report for our favorite team. Man’s best friend, right? You bet.
By comparison, I noticed humans consistently fall short. They always seem bound by their calendars and priorities. It struck me that listening needs to be a scheduled event for most humans. You tell someone you’re in a bad place and you need to talk, and they say, “How about Sunday night after Game of Thrones?” You see, listening isn’t convenient for humans. Unless you’re in the business of listening (i.e. a therapist), who has the time? After all, it’s about me, me, me, right?
That’s the beauty of dogs. Their agenda is US! A dog’s day revolves around us, all day and night, every day, always. When you need a listener, there he/she is; a fur angel who doesn’t watch Game of Thrones and doesn’t require a co-pay.
One day, driving home in my car after a particularly frustrating day among humans, I asked aloud, “Why can’t people learn to listen… like a dog?”
Listen like a dog. Listen like a dog, and really make a difference to others. Make your mark on others. Well, you know what I mean.
I instantly knew I was on to something. This wasn’t just a cute catchphrase. There was real truth in it. I thought about Roamy and how talking to him had made me feel. I realized there was something truly special about doggy listening that most humans seem to miss.
When dogs listen, they don’t judge us or take sides. They don’t interrupt. They don’t jump in and try to fix our problems. They don’t correct us. They don’t say, “That reminds me of a time the same thing happened to me,” and then launch off on a story of their own. They don’t keep checking their cell phones for messages. They don’t tell us to get over our damn selves and move on.
What they do do (besides doo-doo) is give us unconditional acceptance. They listen with their whole being — their eyes, their ears, and their hearts. They offer their full presence to us, their compassion, their allegiance, and their support. They are with us, a simple feat that most human listeners fail to achieve.
Listening an antidote for the Twitter Age, where everyone’s posting, tweeting, and texting, but no one is feeling heard. Listen Like a Dog is for salespeople who want more sales, managers who want more productive and fulfilled employees, and spouses who want more… well, you know. In short, for anyone who’s better at barking than quietly heeling.
Jeff Lazarus is the author of Listen Like A Dog…and Make Your Mark on the World. Listen, one of Jeff’s recent works, was inspired after conducting a series of workshops on the lost art of listening, spending years working hand and hand with field-based sales teams, and his own observations and frustrating experiences of the lack of true listening that exists in the world today. Listen Like A Dog was just recently released in German with a number of additional languages expected this year.