Can our dog really inspire us? We know people can. We are influenced by those around us so can this include our dog? I think it can.

I was in the park a few weeks ago walking my dogs – or watching them run around. They didn’t have a care in the world. The weather wasn’t great – damp and starting to rain they didn’t care – they were just enjoying being there enjoying the moment. They were charging around, believing they could catch the squirrels – they never have and I’m sure they never will catch them – but none the less believing they could. Enjoying the different smells, wagging tails, the rain not a problem, they were simply embracing what they had – freedom to run around in the park! Little did they know that in 10 minutes they would be heading to one of their least favourite places – kennels. Or maybe they did know as the suitcases had been around for a couple for days. Even if they did know they didn’t care they were enjoying now.

I on the other hand was not in the park – at least my head wasn’t. I was trudging around looking at the ground – when not watching the dogs – worrying. Worrying about, had I packed everything, had I organised the insurance. I did sort the carparking didn’t I? What is the traffic going to be like – we were travelling at rush hour – would we get held up?? The company we were traveling with don’t have online check-ins we just turn up at the airport with our receipt – would it all be okay??? So many things to think about – worry about – and so few within my control! What a waste of energy worrying about things I could do nothing about. I can’t control the traffic, I don’t control the holiday operator’s systems. If I have forgotten to pack something, then I am sure I can buy it on holiday – or maybe it isn’t even important. But we all do it – waste time and energy worrying about things we have no control over.

They say if there were 3 windows one for the past, one for now and one for the future, people would naturally divide between the past and future windows and very few at the ‘now’ window. So why is this? The past is often full of people wanting things to return to how they were or being preoccupied with what has happened and how this has affected them today. The future is full of people looking forward planning what will happen, how to improve or achieve the outcome they are looking for. The past can’t be undone, and the future has not yet happened, the only thing we can be certain of is that we are here now. As they say: “The past is history, the future’s a mystery, that’s why the present’s a gift’.

I look at the dogs and make a vow I will live more in the moment – “Take time to smell the flowers”, live for now and not worry about things out of my control.

I had planned to spend my holiday relaxing, reflecting and planning for my return to my busy life. It wasn’t until the last day of my holiday that I started to write this and reflect on what I need to do when I get back to my crazy rollercoaster life. I spent the holiday just being – no planning – no “fitting things in” – no rushing – just being. Soaking up the new environment and truly experiencing all that was around me. Touching, feeling, taking time to enjoy and discover just ‘being’ for now. Time for me, for my body, mind and spirit – and no social media to interfere with that! Too many of us spend time obsessed with posting on whatever format about how fabulous everything is rather than enjoying the moment.

I haven’t got everything planned for my return, maybe I’ll do that on the journey home. One thing I have done is experience the benefits of the here and now. It has required a change in mindset. For me it was tough as I am a natural planner, I feel in control by planning. Therefore, it has taken a decisive effort to let go of what I perceive as control, to be brave and stop planning and stop looking through that future window. Mindfulness is a term we hear regularly. How we approach things, what and how we react and the results we achieve is all dependent upon our mindset. We see this in successful athletes, just as we do in successful businesses. Learning mindfulness techniques to help us manage and focus our mind is hugely beneficial to us as individuals and within our business. It also helps us understand more about ourselves, focus on what is important to us and ultimately lead us to achieve the outcomes we are striving for.

I have been pleasantly surprised at how easy and rewarding my new mindset is. I am also surprised at how mentally recharged I feel and how inspired I am. I feel truly refreshed, and ready to step back into my busy life with clear purpose and direction, yet fully aware of the benefits of enjoying the here and now.

The first thing I will do on my return is give my dogs an extra big hug when I pick them up from the kennels. They are the ones that started me thinking – they inspired me to look at where I am now. To recognise the ‘dog’ mindset – live for today and make the most of it!

We learn from the past and we are motivated by the future, it is the present that we need to enjoy and cherish.

At Baobab Growth we offer both business and personal retreats to enable you to take time out – to just be – to reflect, re-energise and refocus. Our programmes can include mindfulness techniques and mediation to help you get back on track and achieving the success you are looking for. For more information