Which Dog Are You Going To Feed?

One Sunday, Walt and I got the brilliant idea that we’d kayak over to Horse Island and have ourselves a little picnic to celebrate our anniversary.

Horse Island is this little deserted hunk of cliff and bush with an old stone tower on one end that lies ten minutes off shore.  Farmers used to graze their horses out there, thus the name.

Can you imagine convincing one horse, let alone a whole herd of them, to sit still in a boat?

Leave it to the Irish. There’s a reason they survived the Potato Famine.

Anyway, there we were on Horse Island looking for a spot to spread our towels and set out the wine and cheese. There’s a perfectly reasonable beach on which to dine, but, being stupid adventurers, we set out towards the Norman tower instead. God forbid we take the easy way out. Up the rocky embankment, through the impenetrable, shoulder-high ferns we went, basket in hand.

It didn’t take me very long to recognize that we’d made a bad decision.  I could barely see Walt’s head through the growth; brambles tore at my legs despite the Wellington boots, and the footing was unpredictable in more than a few places. Hallmarks of trouble abounded, but, being Ann, I kept pushing forward. I mean, if I can forge through twelve feet of snow for hours on end at altitude, I can make it to a rinky-dink castle.

Thirty minutes in, I stumbled into a ditch and sprained my ankle. Which struck me as rather unfortunate because I had no idea how I was going to get the f*ck off that island.

Which immediately got me to thinking about the book I’ve been reading, The Way of the SEAL, by Mark Divine. I had lots of time to think because it was taking Walt awhile to find me, seeing as I’d landed in the equivalent of the Grand Canyon.

Anyway, The Way of the SEAL is written by an ex-Navy SEAL Commander, and in it he reveals exercises, meditations, and focusing techniques to train your mind for mental toughness, emotional resilience, and uncanny intuition.  I quote.  Which was sort of what I needed so I wouldn’t freak the hell out.

In particular, I remembered this bit on attention control, and the ability to stay cool under pressure by feeding the right dog.

The Native American legend “The Wolves Within” tells of an evil wolf and a good wolf that live inside us, constantly battling for control.  Other versions describe the two opposing forces as Fear Dog and Courage Dog, which is what we use at SEALFIT.  The lesson is that whichever dog you feed will win the fight.  We can’t kill Fear Dog because he’s a part of us—remember, fear is natural and sometimes even useful—but we can weaken his power.  Negative thoughts and energy feed Fear Dog, weakening us, leading us to performance degradation and poor health.  We can lock Fear Dog up and redirect his energy into assertiveness and discipline.  Meanwhile, we need to feed Courage Dog.  Positive thoughts and energy feed Courage Dog, strengthening the mind, body, and spirit.  Feeding Courage Dog makes us more kind, patient, tolerant, powerful, and present.  We’ll avoid conflict and become better leaders.  We won’t hesitate to lean into the hard tasks; fear won’t control us. Wolf_on_alert

Whenever you find yourself in a bad situation—your husband announces he wants a divorce, your kid gets arrested for a DUI, that sort of thing—you need to start asking yourself, “What dog am I feeding?”  Feed the Fear Dog, and you’ll stay mired in the shit show.  Feed the Courage Dog, and you bring awareness to the moment and the ability to stay positive and problem solve.

And yes, I made it home in one piece.  I mean, if an Irish farmer can get a herd of horses on and off that ridiculous island, how hard can it be to extricate one woman?


This is a guest post by Ann Sheybani. My business partner, running partner, climbing partner and life partner, she helps speakers and coaches write and publish powerful client-attracting books. Check out what she’s go going on over at her website. Click HERE.


Rearranging The Deck Chairs

When my youngest son was 14, I took him on a Disney cruise. One night, he decided that he was going to “rearrange” all of the deck chairs and move them onto the elevators. This apparent misuse of time and resources seemed to amuse him. It amused Philip, the smartly dressed security officer who knocked at my cabin door at 2:00 a.m., much less.

All of us, though, can fall victim to “rearranging the deck chairs.”

This phrase originated in the stories surrounding the sinking of the Titanic. It means “to do something pointless or insignificant that will soon be overtaken by events, or that contributes nothing to the solution of a current problem.”

It appears in various guises. Here’s how we hear it from some of our coaching clients:

  • I’m going to get to making those sales calls as soon as I alphabetize the list.
  • I’m going to start the business as soon as I get the logo designed.
  • I’m going to launch the program as soon as the website is done.
  • I’ll get out to those networking events right after the business cards come.
  • I’ll get to work as soon as I finish the (next) degree, program, seminar, certification.

This stuff looks important; it sounds “necessary.”

But, in reality, it’s hiding behind the appearance of busy.

It’s doing stuff that puts off what really needs to be done.

Sure businesses need infrastructure; and I’m a huge believer in continuing personal and professional development.

But what’s most important is getting out into the world and serving; launching that product; using the idea; doing the work; sharing the gifts and talents in the ways that only you can do. images

Of course, “things” get in the way like our

  • generalized overwhelm
  • fear of failure
  • fear of success
  • fear of what “others” will think
  • lack of clarity
  • inertia and resistance

Creatives and intellectuals love to fall in love with their ideas; they like to engage in constant thought, reflection, and improvement. Entrepreneurs want excellence. And there is no question that in certain areas of life we need high levels of training, certification and a demand for perfection, like in air traffic control and brain surgery.

But for most of us, we just need to do the work; we need to show up every day and do the work.

The real work. Not the busy work.

For most of us, it’s better done than perfect.

Seth Godin suggests that all the kvetching is pointless unless we get our work out into the world, unless we “ship” what we have to offer.

You can spend your days rearranging the deck chairs. But the boat will go down.


If you’ve been preoccupied with re-arranging and are ready to get busy now, let’s talk about coaching. Email me at: walt@walthampton.com



Why The Destination Really Matters

We wandered in the fog. For days.

A storm had enveloped the lower part of the mountain right after we had landed at base camp. We had heard that the weather was “nice” up above. So in order to push forward toward Denali’s summit without jeopardizing our supplies of food and fuel, we had decided to traverse the mighty Kahiltna Glacier despite the lack of visibility. StormyWeather

We navigated from wand to wand; and from way point to way point.

At times, I could barely see Ann on the rope 60′ in front of me.

Happily we knew exactly where we were going.

Which was a good thing.

Knowing where you want to go is essential in the mountains.

It’s essential, too, in business… and in life.

Unfortunately, all too often, we lose our direction. We lose sight of the path. We don’t know exactly where we want to end up.

Clarity is key we tell our coaching clients.

You must know your target.

You must be clear on what you want your outcome to be.

You wouldn’t likely wander over to the airport today, saunter up to the ticket counter and say, “Gimme a ticket.”

The ticket agent would look at you a bit strangely and then ask, “Where to?”

If you said, “Barcelona, Orlando or San Francisco,” the agent would likely then query, “Which one?”

Too often we make the mistake in our businesses (and our lives) of not knowing “which one.”

  • Who is your ideal client or customer?
  • What is the product or service that yields your highest return?
  • What do you want your numbers to be this year?
  • Exactly how many hours do you want to work?
  • Where do you want to take your career?
  • What are your specific business goals? And life goals?
  • What is essential to your success and satisfaction?

A GPS will get you within 30′ of your destination. If you go off track, it tells you so.


Always with the destination locked in place.

But without that destination locked in place, you can wander down blind alleys, into “bad” neighborhoods; and you can get pretty far off course: Distracted by the latest in marketing, the hottest of hardware, the coolest of apps; doing advertising regardless of outcome, chasing clients regardless of worth.

Doing things that look “busy” but don’t really get you to where you really want to go.

And you’re ineffective as a leader because, seriously, who wants to follow someone who looks lost?

Worse, you’ll never know when (or if) you arrive.

I love climbing is South America. The Andes are one of my favorite ranges. Unfortunately my Spanish isn’t very good.

The one word I do know is: ¿Donde


It’s a pretty important one to know.


Coaching will help you get clear on your destination and, through coaching, you’ll create a powerful, systematic plan to get you to where you want to go. Are you ready? Email me. Let’s have a conversation. Because, seriously, life is way too short to be wandering endlessly in the fog. walt@walthampton.com

Why Envy May Be A Good Thing

I was miles into the race when she ran up behind me and matched my pace. I didn’t know her. But she clearly knew me.

“I loved your Facebook pictures from Ireland,” she said. “I envy your lifestyle.”

“Yeah, thanks, it’s pretty fine,” I gasped as I crested the hill.

She peeled off to the right.

If I hadn’t been hypoxic in the moment, I would have said more.

I would have said that envy is good. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Envy is a voicemail, a text message from your heart.

Envy tells you that there is something that is lacking, something that you want, something that your Spirit seeks, something that would bring you joy.

I would have said to her that you need to listen to your envy.

What’s it saying?

What’s not working? What needs to change? What needs to be subtracted? What needs to be added in?

What are the goals you are not attaining? What are the dreams you are not fulfilling?

Yeah, my lifestyle might be good. But what are you thirsting for? What is it that you want; that you really, really want?

Know your envy, befriend your envy, understand your envy. Deconstruct your envy. Hear its siren call.

And after you’ve snuggled with your envy for a bit, harness its energy.

Put it to work.

Too often envy can be turned inward; and become bitterness, resentment, victimhood.

Know that envy calls you higher.

Get clear. Take action. Grab hold of the life you want.

Envy is not a deadly sin. It is a gift.

Get busy. Use it.


… and if you want help getting to that life you really want, then let’s talk. Email me at walt@walthampton.com