One of the worst things about being a puppy is they keep taking pictures of you. I mean, ALL THE TIME, without so much as a by-your-leave and when you least expect it. Hence this rather undignified pose. Sorry.
But it does get me thinking. As you know, dogs have amazing hearing, so I pick up a lot from conversations. And based on what I’ve heard, I believe that if you’re not truly IN your business – heart, mind, soul and strength – chances are one day you’ll find yourself OUT of business.
It’s a simple, binary attitude we dogs understand completely. Watch us when we’re eating, chasing a stick/ball/cat, barking at the postman or tearing a slipper to shreds, and you’ll see we do it wholeheartedly: total focus and engagement, no half-measures. You’ve probably also noticed (enviously) how we can be sleeping like the dead one moment, then be wide awake and ready for action the next. We’re fully on or fully off; nothing in between. If we’re in, we’re in; when we’re out, we’re out. (Unlike a certain other, inexplicably popular, domestic companion animal species I could mention.)
Even better than dogs’ hearing is our ability to read body language, so I can tell the Farrow Creative team are really ‘in’ when they’re working on something. They’re thinking, concentrating, imagining and weighing things up: it really does matter to them. At the same time, I know they’re enjoying themselves. Anyone who believes dogs don’t laugh has clearly never met one.
The people who come to the studio are the same. They talk about their business with an energy, excitement and enthusiasm that’s as obvious to me as a wagging tail, and my people really respond. My distant lupine ancestors wrote the book on cooperation and collaboration, so I can detect instantly when my team and the client are on the same wavelength, and pursing a common goal with everything they’ve got.
To do great work, then, be it creative or anything else, you have to live it, as well as love it. But I’m not suggesting that work and business are the be-all and end-all. We dogs could teach humankind a thing or two about taking time to smell the flowers (although sniffing certain other things should definitely be left be to us). It’s more a question of immersing yourself fully in whatever you’re doing – and that includes not-work. When I’m running in the garden, I’m not also thinking about how to walk to heel (as if!) or when my next flea treatment is due.
And remember, you don’t need to stop and ask yourself whether you’re fully in or out of whatever you’re doing today. You’ll know – and so will everyone else.