Apparently, our Emily wasn't feeling well, as evidenced by the early morning gift she left me on the upstairs landing and down three stairsteps. She was properly appalled and sorry - you can tell that by the sorry look on her face, don't let anyone tell you dogs don't know when they've been 'bad'. I reassured her she wasn't bad, she was just sick. Luckily, not very sick... whatever upset her tummy did not interfere with her climbing back into her little bed, curling into a ball, and going right back to sleep.
How kind of her to raise me out of my half-awake state, I thought, to let me know the mess was there, allowing me to clean it up before it congealed into ... something even more unpleasant.
And, to see Chester, our other hound dog, come strolling into the dining room where he proceeded to pee on the floor.
I rushed him out, and he was followed by our little girl Olive, who was kind enough to wait until she in the backyard to do her business.
Thus started my morning, at 5 a.m. on a Saturday.
What has all of this to do with strategic thinking? A great deal. Here I am, wide awake, with no where to go. The house is cold and quiet. Morning is not yet peeking over the housetops. The darkness offers a measure of comfort I find inviting. It invites me to use this time wisely. To be thoughtful and strategic... it's time I would not have, were it not for my precious pups.
Without the hustle and bustle of day to day activity, I'm free to think strategically about my business and my life. I'm able to put aside other tasks that need doing - they can wait until full morn. I'm free to embrace the opportunity. Here I am writing a blog post, while in the far reaches of my brain, I'm thinking about other things...
I'm thinking about my niece who passed recently. The trauma was hurtful in so many ways, as cancer always is, but she endured in peace and beauty. She left us a legacy of warmth and love, and the knowledge that our purpose in life is not to work, work, work...it's to enjoy family and share love with others.
I'm thinking about my company, BlogPaws, and how far we've come in five short years. I worked with one of our bloggers this week to help her understand her blog and its purpose - when some others were being unkind and leaving comments that were cruel and unnecessary, as she sought to find a sponsor to attend the BlogPaws conference. I helped her understand that trolls are a small part of her readership, and the better part of those who read her and love her, would be so disappointed if she threw in the towel... And, she is back blogging today. Strong and full of energy.
I'm thinking about my Mom, who celebrated her birthday yesterday. She's 83 years young. She lives in Upstate NY with my sister (mother of the niece who passed), and has her moments of despair, when she feels a bit left out, what with everyone coming and going to quickly... a kiss on the cheek, a dropped of loaf of banana bread, a shout from the kitchen, "Hey Grandma, can't stay, see you later. Love you!" With a family of dozens in the area, she is seldom alone, but those moments she is, seem longer and sadder to her these days. Those of us 'away' call but... it's not the same, is it? This is not what she expected, in her golden years, I think. Because, sadly, her husband, my Dad, is in a veterans home, lost in the emptiness that is Alzheimers.
Strategic thinking. About life and business. They are two sides of the same coin. My goal is to balance them carefully, and not let one or the other dominate. I know, family should always come first...and they do. But, food and shelter are nice things to have...and they are dependent on business...so, family also is dependent on business. After all, it's my business that pads my bank account and will allow me to go home this summer for a wedding and the birth of my third grandchild.
In this calm morning, where I feel the comfort of my home surrounding my shoulders as a blanket, where I hear the soft breathing of my pets (who are my children these days), where the day is just beginning, and carries much promise with it, I welcome the time to write, muse on what's old and what's new, and be thankful for my place in the world.
Strategically, I am better able to prepare for the next week or month or year, in these few moments before light and sound and all the trappings of modern life intrude.