Sometimes it is a good idea to let people know who you are as a person. Yes, in business, it is okay to let people in on things happening in your life. I believe telling people a little about big events in your private life tells them a lot about your character. No, you have to blog or blurt about having a nasty reaction from the lunch from the taco stand. But sometimes people in business over insulate themselves.

I want to tell you a little about my May 2013. Then I’d like to hear what you think. Sure, this has nothing to do with business but I hope it tells you something about me.

By the way, if you don’t like it, we probably wouldn’t get along. If you just disagree on the being open part, that’s okay.

So my May started out great with a lot of new work booked including some fun travel. However, while I was away on business, right before a very important event, I got a call that my very dear and sweet dog (12 year old lab) fell very, very ill. I put on my game face and did my job. I thought about rushing home after the day but I promised a client that I would stop by and help with a project the next day. Tough decision but since my dog was stable, I stayed and finished my work and then drove 7 hours straight to get home. (Note: I made that decision because the client’s need was urgent and timely. I didn’t how when I could possibly get back.)

The next 24 hours was horrible. I was up all night and tending her all day but she got worse and was in a lot of pain. I arranged for the vet to come to my house and I held her while he administered the final injection. I didn’t want her last view to be of a clinic or office. I wanted her to pass with her family around her in her own yard. She passed peacefully and, as they do, took a part of me with her.

I was stressed and exhausted after this. The other dog, a happy 4 year old was sad and very confused. He really grieved.

So I immediately started looking at the websites of shelters near and far for a good new baby sister.

That was hard and a bit painful but I didn’t want to wait. The healing comes from the new and I knew (no pun intended) that a new baby would be good for all of us if I found the right one. That took two weeks. I was still reeling from the loss and still in the hole as far as rest as I had a ton of serious work to keep up with. But, once I found our girl, I made a 600 mile drive to get her.

She’s an angel and the other dog immediately bonded with her. Their play refreshed me.

This week we had to take the dogs in for shots and while at the vet, we mentioned that our guy had suddenly slowed down in the past three days. They ran some tests and to our great dismay and fear, he (the 4 year old) presented a very bad liver test.

Oh God, not again. Please not again. Not him. Not now.

The vet said we shouldn’t be too concerned because after being with a senior dog, and then really exercising for two straight insane weeks with the puppy would just wear him completely down. His other stuff seems fine. We’ll retest in a month.

Naturally, I had no sleep last night and felt my whole system go into mega stress mode. I was on the phone with the vet this morning for an hour and we went through all the blood work. The vet really believes he is fine and just way over exerted. He’s going to be fine.

Well, that was a comfort, sort of. I mean, we see the test but have to believe the guess. That’s me anyway. But as I let the vet’s words sink in, I feel better and better. In a month we test again. The vet expects him to be back in the normal range. I hope for that.

This all happened in May. The vet call was this morning.

I met all my work commitments and took care of my home commitments in May.

I’m writing this, perhaps giving too much information, maybe not. You can judge that. I’m writing because it’s helping me feel better.

Also, I want you to know me. I really care about my customers. I took care of everyone; I finished all projects on time in spite of feeling stressed and run down. Because I care.

Sometimes clients don’t get that about me because it’s rare. I’m tough, man, really tough. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel. In a crunch, I’m your guy. But I expect courtesy. When I go the extra mile, I expect (and appreciate) a thank you. I worked like hell for a client (full time) and really built their business without so much as a thank you. “You’re just a contractor.” Well, I’m happy to be done with that one and I will not go back. Sure, maybe just a contractor but I worked like it was my business.

Well, I hope June is…what? Better? I got a wonderful new puppy in May. What’s better? Well, I don’t want to lose one! That would be better.

Life is complicated and sometimes it all comes crashing together. Look out for people in middle of events like this. Support them. We all have times like this and that should remind us to be better to each other all the time because you just never know. And let people offer comfort.


Chris Reich,
FW: 123 (And now you know why I stalled out in May)