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Monday, November 2, 2015

What I learned from man's best friend

Earlier this week I was playing fetch with my four month old blue heeler, Otis.  To be clear, I use the term “fetch” loosely.  At this time in my pup’s life, fetch consists of chasing and retrieving an object and then bringing it back to a general direction as long as something more interesting doesn’t cross his path along the way.  Nevertheless, I found myself becoming increasingly impressed by his level of persistence and the determination he showed chasing the little ball that I was throwing across the yard.  During that time I saw him trip over his own feet, wipe-out and take a face first dive into our fence, and knock the ball under an object seemingly lost forever.  Despite these obstacles, he always found a way to get his baby canine teeth around the ball and then celebrate by running around the yard as if the presence of this rubber ball was the greatest thing that could have ever happened to him.  This got me thinking and I was able to take some of the things that I was witnessing and relate it to the work I do every day. 

The first thing I took away from this is that if you’re going to go after something, do it full speed, with everything you have, every time.  For you animal lovers that have ever had a puppy you know what I’m talking about.  These little critters have two speeds: 100 mph and sleeping.  I think there is a lesson there.  To get your desired results, you have to go all out.  I think in recruiting that can come in many forms.  Did I have a plan for the day? Did I display energy and enthusiasm with everyone I came in contact with?  Did I maximize the amount of contacts that I made throughout the day?  You never know when that person that you are connecting with is the perfect candidate and you also never know when the next phone call or email is going to be the one that puts you in touch with the individual that can fill the role that you’re working on.   You have to be on your “A” game all day, every day. 

The next thing that I made note of is that obstacles are just speed bumps, you simply keep going.  I think this is a point that resonates with me more than any other.  I have often reflected on how challenging it can be to work in this field.  The brutal truth is that for every time you get good news or positive feedback on a candidate, you are going to get negative news several times over.  The hiring process is fraught with peril.  We lose candidates to competitors, have people not interview well, watch candidates accept counter-offers, etc.  Now while we can position ourselves to minimize those occurrences, we will never be able to eliminate them completely.  You are going to trip over your own feet or fall face first into a fence on a daily basis.  The important part is that you learn, keep moving forward, and don’t lose sight of your prize. 

This ties into my next point which has to do with how happy Otis was every time he retrieved that little ball, even though he was probably going to have turn right around and chase it again.  Not only that, this process was going to repeat itself over, and over, and over again.  Nevertheless, each time this little furry guy took time to celebrate.  I think that when we fill a req or have a victory, it’s easy to gloss over what we just accomplished and focus on the next req or the next task.  Otis taught me that in order to live a happy life, you need to take time to celebrate the little victories.  These celebrations turn into enthusiasm and are contagious.  These celebrations also give you the energy you need to overcome the speed bumps. 

I’m sure that there will be several more lessons that I will learn during my journey with my little pup.  Even though the principles that I spoke of here are simple ones, I think it’s important that we take time to remind ourselves of these little things and how they can benefit our everyday lives.  While I will probably never have the energy of a four month old puppy, hopefully I can have the enthusiasm and outlook that Otis does.