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One of my Compadres started a business about 10 years ago. We’ll call this person Sandy. Sandy’s goal is to double the business in the next three years. Once we get some wrinkles ironed out, we will do that in about 12 to 18 months. But first, we need to take care of the Stinky Dog.

Sandy has grown this business into a multi-million dollar empire, and we’ve openly talked about the fact that Sandy’s habits and rituals haven’t evolved since then. Yes, the business has grown – but Sandy’s habits are holding back the business, getting in the way of further growth.

Everyone has these hidden gems. I call it Founder’s Disease. I’ve had it in spades; truckloads. How it manifested for me was I needed to know everything, control everything, be a part of everything. Which in itself is suffocating for team members and debilitatingly exhausting for me. In terms of realising the potential of a business, this is a killer. Founder’s Disease rears its head in many ways. But mostly in not letting go of an old way of being.

Back to Compadre Sandy. The most noticeable thing that was destroying their health was that the iPhone ruled Sandy’s life.

Sound familiar?

Sandy, isn’t alone. The average person checks their phone 96 times per day, or once every ten to 12 minutes. Though we actually touch our phones up to 2,617 times per day and unlock our phones 150 times on average. Waiting for something to happen.

Like many of us, either in the past or currently, Sandy kept the phone by the bed. The last thing Sandy looked at going to sleep wasn’t their partner’s beautiful eyes. The first thing they saw in the morning wasn’t the kids, the dog or the sunrise. Sandy’s eyes opened, and they picked up the phone. So the first thing you digest in the morning is the amount of work you’ve gotta do that day.

I’ve done this thousands of times. Haven’t we all?

Sometimes the phone is exciting. Sometimes it’s the most overwhelming thing; the client dumped you (via text – it happens), a friend in distress, family difficulties, you are pregnant, the tax man is after you, and I’ve been fined a large amount of money for being on the damn thing sitting at traffic lights. I’ve also compared myself to other people on my phone, had awful and sometimes shameful conversations.

My phone has brought me a lot of joy too. Great news, text messages from long lost friends, beautiful exchanges with my kids, ongoing messages of love with my partner. I’ve taken amazing photographs. I’ve received beautiful news, listened to amazing stories, watched funny cat videos, and had deliciously rewarding and inspiring conversations that have brought me closer to people.

It’s a mixed-up innovation, if not managed.

So we devised a metaphor, which I encourage you to adopt. Treat your phone like it’s a stinky dog:

  1. You don’t take it to the bedroom.
  2. It definitely doesn’t sit with you on the couch.
  3. Keep it away from where you eat, be that in a restaurant or at home.
  4. Make sure it’s in a different room to you when you’re trying to have a great conversation with someone.
  5. Keep it out of the toilet.
  6. Don’t take it on a walk or run or to the park with your kids (take the real dog)
  7. Do not pat it in the car. Keep it off your lap, too.

The stinky dog metaphor is a simple framework that’s relatable, reliable, jovial, and it works to create a peace of mind that improves your sleep, reduces your anxiety levels, and enhances your relationships with the people who love you. The latter one is the most important thing on earth.

Stinky dogs do not rule your life. You do!

Stinky dogs, woof off!


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