I have a dog, named Winston. And he's my partner in business. He doesn't know that, but he is. He's my daily reminder to slow down, to check in. Because I have him, he allows me to leave the house, leave the office at any time of the day. Usually when he asks.
Having a dog takes me into a whole different world. Rather than just literally walking him and thinking I have to get back to the office, it's more about following him and being in his space and energy.
It’s worth thinking about that from a leadership perspective, too.
At the Henka Institute the name Henka comes from the Japanese word for transformation and change. And that is what I am thinking about, transformation through taking the time to consider and reflect.
The concept is to slow down to speed up. By giving yourself time to check in with yourself, you can then be more productive.
That's what Winston does for me. Simply by walking him, he helps me to slow down, think about what's going on, get some fresh air, get the blood going and then come back with a fresh perspective.
He gives me the opportunity to suspend my agenda, to let go. He allows me to probe the meaning of different words and different thoughts that I have in my mind. To consider the different conversations that I have with people. To test assumptions within myself, about myself.
By slowing down and taking the time to reflect, I find it possible to paraphrase some of the conversations I've had with people. To see if there's a different angle or a different perspective.
I think perhaps most powerfully, Winston offers me the opportunity to stay curious, to create that space to stay curious and to question what's going on in and around my business, my life, my family, and so forth. So thank you to Winston.
Having a pet, whatever type of animal it is, makes you have to stop for a moment, to look after its needs and especially to give it some of your time.
It’s been well studied that pets help us reduce stress. Pets in the workspace can actually offer a better work-life balance. They even help us nurture productivity.
Even if you do not have a pet, hopefully, you are inspired by Winston and now recognise the need to slow down, check in, to then speed up.