Summer Leadership Series 3: I Don't Need Another Dog to Walk

July 31, 2019

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It was great to hear about some of your plans for a Summer Shutdown. One of my favorites was:   "I'm 11 days away from my sabbatical and I already feel somewhat lighter...I put together/aligned my final deliverables...drove conversations about what I'll start up when I get back...I've even made a breakthrough with my mgmt on the career front...Not sure any of this would have happened as easily if there wasn't the real deadline...forcing the, I'm heeding your advice, creating my own hard stop/pause and am extremely grateful!"


Dog walking illustration

I too am grateful for my summer shutdown, which took place this past month when I took a couple of weeks off...didn't travel, did some home projects, read a couple of books, worked out, worked a little and enjoyed a slower pace.  It was fabulous.  And similar to the quote above, it wouldn't have happened if I didn't force the issue...didn't have a plan with real boundaries.  One of the things that helped ensure this to happen was that I had one less dog to walk. 

Not a real dog.  We don't have one.  And I don't mean dog, in the sense of a bad choice or bad result (eg. "that new item launch was a dog").  What I am referring to in the saying, "I don't need another dog to walk," speaks to the things in life that suck up time and really aren't adding a lot of value.  Things we agree to do or lead that usually are not aligned to our what we are supposed to be getting done during our time here on planet earth.  

These dogs take away time and energy from what we need to be focusing on.  And one of those dogs I got to stop walking this summer was a rental house in Florida that we finally sold. It wasn't the best investment, which could have easily put it in the dog category.  But what made it a dog for me was the extra attention it took to pay bills, handle renter issues, ensure repairs.  You know the drill.  So when that house finally sold and closed in late June, the timing was perfect.  One less dog to walk right before I headed into my summer shutdown.  One less thing to focus on.  One less distraction.

What about you?  Any dogs in your life that you need to stop walking?  Any strategic choices you've made that just aren't working?  A critical leadership principle is to choose.  What you are going to do as well as  what you aren't going to do.  Or what you aren't going to walk.  It may be time to let go of that dog. 

Kate Johnson
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