My dog Bijou and why you should write a State of the Union

My dog died this week. Bijou. My glorious Vizsla goddess. She was a few weeks shy of 14 and was sick with intestinal Lymphoma. Things took a sudden turn, and we honored her with a peaceful exit. It killed me to let her go. It really, really killed me. I didn’t know how I would continue to breathe leading up to the inevitable and the thereafter. She was one of those dogs. Magnificent in all regards. And we were inextricably connected. It was a crushing loss.

After several days of continual tears, I’m finally coming out the other side — leaning into gratitude for her life and deeply thankful that she was mine. Thankful too that this perfect, resilient, adventurous, loving creature was one of the dogs my two kids grew up with. We have another Vizsla too, Cosmo. He’s 13 and is appearing confused as to what’s happened to his mate. I think he’ll be okay in time.

I’m appreciative beyond words, for all that both of my dogs have taught me personally about life and love.

If you’re an animal lover, you understand when I say that the love shared with our pets is a very particular form of love; to me it’s the purest form of love. There are no conditions; it’s so uncomplicated. The intangibles that make up that connection are uniquely specific and true.

Bijou was diagnosed in January of this year. Knowing that her cancer was aggressive, I instantly recognized that the time we had left together would be cherished — to the max. We did lots of fun things; jaunts in Central Park, filet mignon; my constant spoken and unspoken pledge of love to her was the daily thread. There was no end to what I would’ve done to keep her happy and content. The only thing I couldn’t give her was more time.

So, what are the lessons?

As my Bijou took her last breath lying on my lap just a few days ago, I thought of how she lived her life. She lived to do the things she loved. Run, vault fences in Central Park, give and receive affection — not unlike most healthy, spirited dogs. If I could’ve asked Bijou during her last moments if she had any regrets, I know she would’ve said that she had none. Not one.

This might seem silly, as this was a dog who lived a privileged life. But for all of us, the passing of loved ones often prompts our own reflections on life and priorities, and at this time, this loss prompted me to take out my most recent copy of my State of the Union, which I should’ve updated in the month of January (as State of the Unions go), but April will be just fine too.

So, in honor of Bijou who spent many days at my feet, right here in my writing studio while I worked, here’s an update of my State of the Union.

BTW, this exercise is what I ask my clients to start with when we begin our work together. It’s a good way to clear the decks and set up a game plan that’s true to core priorities across the board.

My State of the Union:

  I started this company as a Company of One. I still like it that way and I’ll keep it that way.

  I never want to be a “big deal” or someone who’s known across the masses. I like staying small and being   available to my Tribe to support and help them succeed vs. going after more, more, more of everything.

  I’m really good at what I do. It all plays to my natural born strengths. And, I’m relentlessly committed to deliver excellence so what I don’t know, I research exhaustively until I’m comfortably an expert. That obsessiveness annoys people, I’m sure. I also have an acute attention to detail, and that might annoy people too. But, I’m okay with that. It serves my clients and me well.

  I love sharing almost everything I know, with no strings attached. Sharing weekly content with my Tribe creates a great line of communication and helps me stay very much in touch with what my people need, their challenges, and how they feel about their careers. It helps me to create programs and products that solve their exact problems and make results totally achievable.

  I want to start a podcast. I always wanted to be a radio show host (and a Doo-Wop Girl). Maybe I could add some tunes to my podcast and see if that satiates my craving. I don’t need to do interviews, talks, joint ventures, and guest writing — unless I want to and it’s fun. But, yes — podcasts are in my future.

  I can see exactly where my business is going ⇒ private coaching & group masterminds, building awesome digital products i.e. mini-courses & masterclasses to help disenchanted professionals land jobs they love. I’m very passionate about this topic and am happy to do what I do best. I want my clients to find this same connection to their work. So when it’s our time, we will go out skidding sideways with nothing left to give — and have no regrets.

  As I live my life, I will never sell out in any regard. I have sold out at other times in my career, to the wrong job and to cultures that I didn’t respect, but never again. I don’t regret those blunders. They helped me tremendously, to see things clearly for the future.

  Personally, I will continue to be the best mom I can be to Emily & Dean, my very cool college kids. And also be a great mom to my main man, Cosmo. I will continue to honor Bijou’s memory; I will miss her every day and look for her strength when I’m sad.

  Being a mother will forever be my most important job, and the job for which I hope I am most remembered. And my kids have a built in job search expert, so there’s that too.

So for you, now is as good a time as any, what’s your State of the Union?

Write one up in honor of Bijou, or someone you love and feel free to send it to me: nancy (at) nancysherr (dot) com. I’ll love it, and I’ll send comments back. Promise.

Here she is with her mate Cosmo, doing what she loved — what they both loved.❤️


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