I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be married for over 17 years to an exceptional lady. Yes, we have a slightly combustible relationship, based on love and hate. Namely I love her, she hates me ☺. Anyway, I have a number of things to be massively grateful to her for:
- She has given me two amazing daughters, who I love to bits.
- She has stuck by me, especially during the tough times.
- She got me to like broccoli (lemon and olive oil being the key, for those interested).
- She remembers everyone’s birthdays and special occasions, something I was truly crap at.
- And finally, she introduced me to the joy of cats.
Look, don’t get me wrong. I love dogs. In fact, I was incredibly lucky in my very younger years to have an Alsatian/German Shepherd named Aza. She was truly exceptional, loyal, calm, protective, but above all incredibly smart. Just in case you think I’m making this up, no matter how hungry, she would never take food from a stranger, plus she protected my mum on a number of occasions.
So I’m not going to diss dogs. Instead, I’m going to focus on why I think cats are great and what makes them better workmates. So Kiki and Cleo, my “furry girls”, this post is in your honour. (Plus, if I get more than 100 likes, the tuna is on me!)
Walk to the beat of your own drum
Domestic cats are not naturally creatures that have a herd or pack mentality. They do what makes sense to them. A cat is mostly in charge, not you, of what they do.
In business, we’ve become obsessed with control rather than ability; with trying to suppress natural talents rather than use them. Need I say more?
I love the fact our two cats just get on with life, plus I’m more than confident that they could survive and thrive without our help. They are the ultimate hunter- gatherers.
I had an interesting evening with a mate who’s very successful, and we were chatting about the various additional projects I’m working on. He asked how I make the time, with all that’s going on with the publication.
The answer is pretty simple. I surround myself with exceptional talent, trust them and let them get on with it. This means I don’t have the 70-80% of bollocks most people have to put up with in a day, or the need to shadow any of the team. Simples!
Ask for help when needed
Building on the above point, we all sometimes need a bit of help or affection. Our cats are no different. They’re sisters and both are tabbies, and it’s interesting how and when they need that support. Kika has certain points in the day when she lets me know in no uncertain terms that she wants attention. Cleo is less in-your-face, but has certain pointers that say the same thing.
Just like running a business, we all have one way of dealing with people. However, we have to accept that everyone is different and we, not they, need to adapt to that.
Adapt, but only when it makes sense
Just in case you’re worried that I’m advocating a complete free-for-all, nothing could be further from the truth. With pets, as with business, you need some structure and rules.
Our cats, despite being true free spirits, understand this. I’m not sure this is normal but they both come in in the evening when called, and my wife has even taught them to put bottoms down when eating!
Put simply, anyone and anything with a brain will accept something that provides some form of reward. It’s about being consistent and beneficial.
Young at heart
As anyone who truly knows me, I have a complete soft spot for a bit of madness. Sadly, the world seems so far up its own arse these days. I love it when people just have fun.
Our cats despite being older still have moments of madness, be it chasing each other around the house, play-fighting or climbing the curtains.
As the great film “The Shining” taught us, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.
Lastly, I love the fact that both our “furry girls” just love to explore, be it in the garage, a new box, our garden or surrounding areas.
For me, it keeps you sharp, it keeps you young and it’s amazing what brilliant adventures you find.
So to finish, while it’s always a great ego boost to have someone incredibly loyal do what you want and expect, and who understands you’re in charge, personally I prefer the more unpredictable and independent.
Not only are they more fun and interesting but also when you get their commitment, you know you’ve truly earned and deserved it.
So when I get to retire and choose a new CEO for the business, it will be a cat not a dog. Why? Because I expect any and all of our team to add real value and not be a suck-up. If I needed that I’d buy a dog ☺.