Thursday, February 18, 2010


March 6, 10am-noon, Busboys and Poets
My first event with the RV! Really excited that Kelly trusts me this much! I've run small events before. My largest ever was VegFest. VegFest was awesome--all day event, two shifts of volunteers, multiple dogs, two cars broke down on my way there (my car died that day--with a pit bull puppy inside) and me forgetting to eat all day because I was so nervous. Also, I think we got more than half the dogs adopted.

I like my day job and I'm good at it (no ego problems here), but there's a great kick from finding out you're trusted to do something that, to you, feels really important. I've been thinking about motivation a lot lately and realized that trust really is one of the best forms of praise possible. I loved when a superior at work told me that I was one of the few people she could trust to handle proofreading a document. It was long, tedious work that, without the praise, would have dragged. However, because the job was treated as something particular to my skills (ocd-tendencies, extreme attention to detail, extreme focus while reading, etc) and not just work no one else wanted to do, I wanted to do it and felt pushed to do it perfectly. I found some errors and completed the task before the deadline. The praise made me happy and being happy helped me work harder.

I do the same thing with Toby. Victoria Stillwell does that with dogs. (Disclosure: It's Me or the Dog is one of my favorite shows). Pam Johnson Bennet, my favorite feline behavior author, also believes in positive training. Positive training works on dogs, cats, and people better than punishment. In Office Space the main character says that his main motivation is to do as little as possible so as to provide as few opportunities as possible for people to reprimand him. That's not unusual. If you punish, you're not teaching and rewarding new behaviors, just making it more difficult for the individual (dog, cat, person) to feel they have a chance at making you happy.

So closing advice? Look for opportunities to praise others. Thank your doorman for holding the door and tell him how much you appreciate his friendliness. Tell your cat "good boy!" when he does something good. And give trust and responsibility to people when you praise them. It might surprise you what they'll do to prove themselves worthy.

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