There's something scary about a starving dog.

I'm so often out with the kids. Riding bikes. Playing in the park. Throwing rocks in the creek, whatever. It's not the activity, it's the look on their faces keeps me going.

Dogs are common here. I rarely worry. My kids love dogs. The neighborhood is nice. A healthy, wagging tail is simply inviting. We stop to pet.

But I can't forget the time a starving dog wandered into the park. So scrawny and scared. Its pain and desperation were palpable. Without thought I grabbed my kids, pushed them to the top of the slide and ran the dog off.

I wish I'd had more compassion. Wish I'd had a steak. But to be honest, I wasn't thinking. Instinct took over. The dog had that air of desperation I couldn't ignore. Fear grabbed. Trust fled. I reacted quickly and without thought.

Desperation smells funny. There's just something visceral about it that drives help away. You see it in business, especially the music business, all the time. The more desperate a singer becomes, the fewer calls they get. It's like a magnetic personality set on reverse.

We all face lean times. Even big businesses like Abercrombie & Fitch or JC Penney can hit very tough times. Yet they still have so much to be thankful for, and this appreciation for the little they do have keeps investors, employees and even a few customers willing to help.

Luckily, you are too big for desperation. Even in the toughest times, you have friends. You have food. You have a roof. You have amazing powers of creativity and invention. Even in your darkest hours, you have incessant hope.

It's easy to feel desperate in the middle of that big sales call or important negotiation. After all, you only get one meeting with Sony Records. You feel like everything's riding on this moment. But it's not. you have so much more.

Take a moment. Be thankful for what you do have. However small, it's yours forever. With the smallest moment of thankfulness, you'll not only crush your own feelings of desperation but just might find the strength to help someone else crush theirs.

Tonight I think I'll leave a couple pork chops in the park... just in case.