Follow the Dog

Charmaine Hammond spoke first at my Women & Words Conference last weekend.  And her talk was centered around her dog.  Now I’m not a dog person, so you might think this was boring for me.  Not so.  Charmaine told of the five-year-old dog she and her husband had brought into their home and the complete devastation wrought by Toby.  In solving Toby’s behavioural problems Charmaine and her husband found that all he needed was a purpose in life.  What an engaging way to start the conference.  Now Toby is a hospital volunteer, sponsor of a girls’ soccer team and a participant in various children’s programs.

And Toby is twenty-five pounds lighter, well-behaved and the dog this couple always wanted.  Sounds like a formula for people to follow, doesn’t it?

Charmaine gave us Seven Secrets Inspired by a Dog:

1.  The writing journey is not a walk in the park.

2.  The ASK makes the difference.

3.  Play in a Bigger Playground.

4.  Market for Success on a short leash.

5.  The work really begins after the book is written.

6.  How to avoid failure to launch.

7.  Best results happen when you are having fun.

In expanding on these points Charmaine mentioned that the best results happen when you are having fun.  Also, she found that talking her book into a microphone made for much better writing.  She said that women struggle with doing the ASK and mentioned that it comes from the heart, not the head.  I think that’s true.  Most of us are not good at asking for what we need.  We just expect our partner, our children, our friends, and our colleagues to know.  Charmaine’s infectious way of laughing at herself made her presentation excellent.  She talked about making the book signing a really engaging experience to captivate people.  Make it fun.  And she mentioned creating a brand so that everything you do taps into that.  Hers is Toby and the Toby language.  (eg. pawsome)  Finally she said that when people see you enjoying the moment they will want to get behind you.

And I loved hearing Toby talk at the end.  I was certainly following the dog.


4 thoughts on “Follow the Dog

  1. Sounds like an inspiring workshop, Elaine, and thanks for sharing these helpful messages. I love the way Charmaine learned from her dog. We must remember to infect everyone with fun!


  2. Hi Sharon
    Thanks for visiting. Wish you could have been with me in Vancouver. You would have loved it. Lots of sessions to choose from but I got to hear almost all that I really wanted. Next year, a conference closer to home, though.


  3. Love the advice from a dog. My friend Sue does a newsletter called soul food and she always includes a bit of “advice from”, such as advice from the sun, moon, etc. Had her over today and we both feel overwhelmed from out commitments. I need a big sticky note to remind me every day to ASK.



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