Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mastering Consistency - What is success?

Success is the topic of the day in the agility blog-o-sphere.   Here is a link to many more blog posts on success.
I often struggle when things don't go my way.  I believe writing this blog and defining success for me has truly helped me get focused on what really matters.
I will never forget the feeling the first time I made it to a podium at a regional.  Although it hadn't been my goal at the time, I sure felt successful standing there with my ribbon.  But I also have to ask myself, am I unsuccessful if I don't make it to the podium?  Those years I don't make it to the podium (of which there are many) am I disappointed in myself, in my dog? At a Nationals, there could be 300 dogs in my height division.  There are only 3 spots.  Should we say that 296 people are unsuccessful even if each of us put months into reaching these goals?

Do I toss everything into the toilet if it doesn't go as planned?
I am learning that success is a journey rather than a destination.  The journey will include joy, laughter, and pain.  Working with my beautiful boy Tazz so he is a confident playful boy when introduced to new dogs has been a very long journey.  Even today at 10 years, Tazz can revert to his old ways.  It isn't something that I get recognition for, but boy do I get the looks and frowns when he acts like a shit head.  There are no first places for helping a dog overcome reactivity and aggression.  But when I see a happy relaxed dog, I feel even more successful than when I get a ribbon running Fin.
Success for me is working consistently towards goals.  I believe it was Stephan Covey that first spoke about not giving up what you want in the long term for what you want today.  It is how I am learning to define success.  Consistency.  Consistency toward my goals.  Not giving up when those goals go off the rails, or don't take the path I first thought I'd be on.
Consistently working with a dog until you find what makes that dog tick and turn on.  Not getting disappointed when it doesn't go your way.  Certainly not blaming the dog or myself.
Consistently working on my relationship so that I feel connected to my dog. Even if that connection is something different then I originally planned.
Enjoying the journey without the public acknowledgement and awards.  Looking for the laughter and happiness in the little things and hoping they become big things in time.
When things go right, understanding that they went right because of hard work; even though at that moment it seems so easy.
When we get a puppy there is so much anticipation and excitement for what that puppy might become.  Excitement of the expectation of greatness in the sport we choose.  But sometimes, the journey that you are on with this particular dog doesn't take the path you expected.  Success is the ability to maintain your goals but still work at the dogs pace, even when that path is a much longer one than you planned for.  Success is watching friends, students, and mentors achieve awards that you have been working towards and still maintaining your journey despite the lack of recognition.

Lastly, success is having joy and laughter along the way.  Keeping a positive attitude and not worrying about what others might think. 


Anonymous said...

Totally agree with this! It's a good place to be mentally. Thanks for posting

Johann The Dog said...

Agree, agree! I love this comment you mentioned, 'spoke about not giving up what you want in the long term for what you want today' good advice! Great post, thank you!

Diane Patterson said...

Vici, always love your views and inspiration. Hugs to you, and our sister Fin, and all her pack (and the pack to be inside Olive!)

cindy difranco said...

Loved this Vici. I'm struggling with
things right now and your blogpost was just what the Dr ordered. Thanks for you wonderful spirit and thoughtful insights. I love you!

Doranna said...

I loved the way you put this together--and the photos--!

Lili Dawidowicz said...

Wow!!! well said, well thought, welcomed....!!