You Won’t Change Your Life Until Your Dog Dies – Really

We have a saying in our business when someone tells us they want to make a change. We ask them whether their dog has died yet. When they look at us in horror we explain the story behind the question.

It comes from a story shared with us by a counsellor about a man who was an alcoholic.

When the story started the man, let’s call him Blue was happily married with two teenage daughters and a job as a senior executive in a Bank. He had a sports car and lived in a nice brick house in the suburbs with a dog. Then he started drinking excessively. His family and friends were brave enough to speak up and tell him they thought he had a problem and he should seek help… but that wasn’t enough for him to get help. One night after a drinking binge he came home and hit his wife so she took the children and left him… but that wasn’t enough for him to seek help. After another drinking binge he was violent towards his daughters on an access visit, so his wife sought a restraining order and he was no longer able to see his children… but that wasn’t enough for him to seek help. His drinking became so problematic that in quick succession he was fired from his position in the bank, his car was repossessed and the bank took possession of his house. The next day he started living on the streets with his dog… but that wasn’t enough for him to seek help either.

A mate heard about the hard times he had fallen upon and offered him a place to live in his shed. So Blue moved out into the country and began living in his friend’s shed. Then one Monday in the middle of a searing summer’s day he found himself wandering into town for a drink. This drinking bender was a big one. Three days later he dragged his sorry body towards the shed and found to his horror that he had left his dog chained up without water in the scorching summer sun… and the dog had died. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back and the thing that caused Blue to finally seek help with his drinking problem. Prior to this point, Blue was not prepared to make change in his life.

Everyone has a breaking point; a point beyond which they will no longer go without seeking to change their life. And everyone’s point is different. Blue’s breaking point was when his dog died. Nothing before then had been sufficiently compelling to force him to seek to change his life… even though several of his experiences would have been enough for another person to seek help, they weren’t for Blue. So we hope you can now understand why we attempt to work out whether a person’s dog has died before we start to work with them on changing their life… because until it does, they seldom are successful in making the change they need to make.

In short to change your life YOU have to want to make the change for a very personally compelling reason. You won’t be successful if you are doing it for someone else or if you aren’t really convinced that it is compelling enough for you.