Putting on the dog

In the Deep South there is a term called “putting on the dog.” This term means before someone comes to visit or before I meet someone, I am going to wear the nice clothes I have and clean the house or the office. In other words I am going to impress these people. It is similar to the term “putting on the Ritz” but somehow in the south the word Ritz and dog got switched up. Ha

In the movie “Sweet Home Alabama” Reese Witherspoon’s mother tells the New York Mayor (played by Candice Bergen) that if she had known the Mayor was coming to her house she would have “put on the dog.”

This stuff cracks me up. You wonder where that saying came from. Can you imagine the first person that said that term to someone? They probably just looked at them and wondered, what is he talking about? Well the term somehow stuck (not with me) but with other southern folks and it means to do your best.

I think in life we should put on the dog every day, meaning we should do our best and try our hardest to be all that we can be. I am not talking about having ego and arrogance and wearing fancy cloths and trying to show off. What I mean is to be the best we can be with every person we meet and every task we undertake. If you are writing an email or a presentation, write it the best you can. If you are on a conference call with a client, really focus, prepare and do your best.

We have another term in the south called, “winging it.” Winging it is the opposite of preparing and doing your best. Some of the greatest relationships people have in business today were probably formed because they were not casual in their approach to the client. A client knows if you are prepared and he/she can see through a person that is winging it.

So in life and in business mentally put on the dog or in other words try your best in everything you do and you will succeed far more than you fail. KT

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