Sometimes success doesn’t look like you thought it would. It is malleable, ever-changing; a flowing sort of process. Success might mean something entirely new from one day to the next. I know this– I’m living it
When I was younger I had a very hard defined meaning of what success was in agility, what it would look like, and what it would feel like (the answer to all of those was “awesome”, in case you’re wondering). Silly, young seventh grader who didn’t know the first thing about what this journey would be like. Over the last ten years it became apparent that it was not just a completely forward path I was on. It was not a steady slow hike up the mountain to reach the peak. Instead it has been a looping, back and forth sort of path. A path that has doubled-up on itself, disappeared at times, been snowed on/ rained on/ had the sun shine greatly upon it. One that has been an easy climb one day, and an impossibly difficult one the next. Ever-changing.
So here’s some of my advice, the same advice I must remind myself to follow. Some of the things I am reminded of by the beautiful people in this life who sit and listen to my ranting, crying and, more frequently, my excitement over this journey:
– Find happiness in every day. Every run. Every training session.
Even if it’s small. Even if it seems inconsequential. The sum of all the small successes add up to mean a heck of a lot more than adding up all your perceived failures. Dwelling over the things you haven’t accomplished does nothing for your present. Enjoy where you are– right now— the most that you can. Please, remind me of this one often.
– Do not compare yourself to where anyone else is in their journey.
It’s an unfair thing to do to yourself, but most certainly an unfair thing to do to your dog. Looking at what others have accomplished that you think you “should” have accomplished at whatever point you’re at serves no purpose and will not make you a better handler, teammate, trainer, etc. I am incredibly guilty of this infraction. You are where you’re meant to be.
– Keep balance.
Take time away from agility. Skip a day at a show and trade it for a long hike, an afternoon by the beach, exploring a place you’ve never been to before– even if it’s close to home. Do something new, reunite with something you used to love (read: photography and yoga again). Try not to get caught up in the cycle of needing to Q to measure success, or needing to compete constantly to feel like you’re doing well. Don’t let this game become a chore.
– Surround yourself with positivity.
There are too many people in life who will try to bring you down. Stay surrounded by those who help make you better. Reduce the negativity in your life: you are a reflection of those whose company you choose to keep.
Despite not reaching the goals I set for myself this year, I have found success. Although it hasn’t been in the way I had hoped for or planned for necessarily. I’m still learning to accept that and smile in the face of it. Because the same events will be there waiting for us next year. Because new goals can be set. But now, here where we are, still remains unknown, untapped and unpredictable.
And that’s a wonderful place to be.
* This is part of the Dog Agility Blog Events topic on “success.” Please follow the link to check out dozens (if not more) wonderful blogs that will posted and updated throughout the day. Feel free to comment, add to my list, or (even better!) create your own post and share it with the group.