A couple of months ago, I had the privilege and responsibility of dog sitting not one, but two massively huge dogs. After hours of watching, observing and pondering these four-legged beasts, they taught me 4 lessons on business.
1. Passion & Enthusiasm! Every day when I got home from work the dogs would enthusiastically greet me with a big lick and uncontrollable wags of the tail. I barely made it to the welcome mat before I was plowed over.
Lesson: It’s guaranteed you will catch the attention of other people if you have passion and enthusiasm. It is truly hard to not respect someone who has a passion for their work.
2. Be patient, persistent and consistent. I believe the saying “have the tenacity of a pit bull” applies to all dogs. It was an awesome site to see these two dogs completely mutilate a peanut butter filled bone. Hours and hours of gnawing and licking, eventually rewarded them with the gooey center.
Lesson: Most things worth going after won’t be easy. Obstacles, hurdles, walls and maybe troops will surely be in your path. Just know that God is always there to help get you through it.
For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.
Don’t give up until you get to the gooey center. It’s there… you just need to keep licking!
3. Incentives work. It’s amazing how well these dogs would obey when I had a 7oz milk bone in my hand. I could get them to sit, shake and without even saying anything, I could even get them to drool on my tile floor. Pavlov would have been proud!
Lesson: As humans, we aren’t much different. It doesn’t take a lot to motivate us. Maybe some donuts, pizza party for the office or if you really want to incentivize… hand out AWARDS. If you expect positive performance, it has to be fostered by positive incentives. Extrinsic motivation to work hard for a reward started with God and Adam.
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;
We definitely want to work hard for rewards now… but even more so for eternal rewards.
4. Be present… live in the now. Almost daily I can readily spot someone dwelling on the past, stressing over the future or just “checked out” from the present in some sort of la la land. Dogs don’t hold grudges, you never get cold shoulder because you didn’t rub his belly last week. Dogs also don’t fret over the future. They simply enjoy the now.
Lesson: A wise man named Matt once wrote “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” In dog language.. wag more bark less!
*Bonus Tip: Always be suspicious of the mailman. I’m not exactly sure why… but I think it’s good practice.
Passion and Enthusiasm
Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Enthusiasm first appeared in English in 1603. The source of the word is the Greek enthousiasmos, which ultimately comes from the adjective entheos, “having God within,” formed from en, “in, within,” and theos, “God.” Originally, entheos simply meant the external enthusiasm of someone who just got born again. Over time the meaning of enthusiasm became extended to “rapturous inspiration like that caused by God” to “an overly confident belief that one is inspired by God.”
My friends, family and acquaintances (and anyone who has ever seen me teach a seminar) have no doubt that I have passion and enthusiasm for life and my pursuit of happiness. The more I travel through this life the more zealous I get to make a positive difference. Make no mistake about it. I am no stranger to turbulent times. I’ve been chewed up and spit out like a bitter lemon. But I don’t dwell there. I choose to pick myself up, lick my wounds and move on. I realized early in my childhood that the faster I get my head back into the game the better off I am. The way I see it is that we all have unlimited “at bats”. If we strike out, we get to swing again, again… and again, (and again, get my point?)
It totally baffles me when someone is doing their job half heartedly with a lackadaisical attitude. They go through the motions, just barely above flat lining. If it’s worth doing… it’s worth doing with passion and enthusiasm! My dad used to say, “Son, if you are going to be a ditch digger, be the best digger you can be!” I have gone to the dentist with enthusiasm, because I was glad to have my teeth sparkly white. I have paid my taxes with enthusiasm because I was glad to have a job that paid me good money and have a prosperous lifestyle, plus those taxes help our schools, roads and line the pockets of our local politicians, (strike that last point, sorry about that). I always pay my tithe with enthusiasm because I know God will use it for the further movement of His word and blessing His people. The key to enthusiasm is to focus on the “why”.
What’s the reason WHY you are doing a task. If you can’t find a passionate reason… you need to move on! That includes the small things in life as well as the jugular issues we deal with. Don’t be confused, I’m not saying to walk around and think everything is always peaches and roses. One glance around and you’ll see the contrary. However, I do propose that you should be optimistic and a realist. Live in reality, and dwell on the positive.
The final point I’ll endeavor to make is that in all situations you should be thankful, this will accelerate your enthusiasm.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. ~I Thessalonians 5:18
Notice is does not say “FOR” everything give thanks… I certainly wasn’t thankful FOR Ivan to hit our community, nor the oil spill to roll up on our beaches, nor was I thankful FOR 24 inches of rain in one day, that caused massive flooding on the Emerald Coast. But it does say “IN” everything give thanks. I am thankful that our community came together, and everyone is willing to step up and help during turbulent times. Just like a broken bone or a scar, after the healing process is done it is stronger than it was before the tragedy.
When you are feeling down and lethargic. Just think about who you truly are in Christ and what exactly eternal life means, and you’ll have the giddiness and enthusiasm as a teenager with a new cell phone!
Testimony of a Prosperous Christian
Coach Willie Spears
Q: When do you find God?
A: I grew up in the church. I started teaching Sunday School at the age of 8 and I started my walk with Christ my sophomore year of high school.
Q: “Rags to riches story” How did you become a “Prosperous Christian”, by our definition?
A: In the coaching profession, high school football coaching job security does not exist. I’ve been named coach of the year by several organizations multiple times, and I’ve also been fired. Through the ups and downs of coaching, God has shown himself mighty!
Q. How does God continue to Prosper you today in all categories?
A: Humility is the way to advance.
Q. One or two of your favorite versus that inspire you.
A. And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; – Colossians 3:23 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. – 1 Corinthians 9:24
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; – Ephesians 6:10-18
Originally from Panama City, Florida, Willie Spears graduated from Rutherford High School in 1996. He then attended Northwestern Oklahoma State University where he was a starting receiver for the NWOSU Rangers, winners of the 1999 NAIA National Championship, prior to earning his BA in communications. He also holds a Master’s in Education from Troy University.
Willie is currently the head football coach at Escambia High School in Pensacola, Florida, where he lives with his wife Tanika, and their two children Tayelor and Kenneth. For more information on Coach Willie Spears, go to www.williespears.com