Sunday, September 02, 2018

Getting on Track ...

Sigh - here it is Labour Day weekend and another summer has slipped past - it's been a good one ... lots of love, laughter  and inevitable challenges.



Sally is doing her August relapse  thing whatever it is - and this year for the first time there is  quite a bit of pain - and that hurts my heart. A. Lot. Sally is a trooper though and wants to be active. She's a dog and a half I tell you. (just search her name in this blog for plenty of evidence of that!)

Anyhow - far enough down the Sally rabbit hole  (8 years of blogging mostly about her - I'll never be done) back to human concerns ...

For me September is often a New Year's of sorts - all my years in the school system as a student, and then working in it has made my system to respond to this weekend with a self check in. How am I doing with the 4 Agreements?



My mind runs through a bunch: what have I accomplished? What would I like to do with my time, energy and money in the next year? How are my animal partners doing? What do they need from me? How are my relationships? Any need repair or attention?  How is my quest to find peace through those four agreements going?  Am I continuing to be Kind, Consistent and Thoughtful to the best of my ability? Heck  - am I remembering to be the best me possible even in the face of challenges?



I check in with my motivation - where are any blocks? Are direction, intensity or persistence an issue?  If I find one or more  I will get up off the couch, create a play list that will push me a little, and set some goals for how long and what I want to accomplish in training, writing and life. 

Are there people I am struggling with? What can I do to overcome the thoughts that might be interfering with my understanding of their motivations. I am fortunate now in that I truly do assume the best of intentions for people unless proven otherwise. That shift in thinking has been a tremendous asset to this aspect of my annual check in.


For everything I want to do I take the time to consider why that whatever has made the list - is the motivation for putting it there internal (just for me - that actually covers more ground than you'd think at times) external (doing it for someone else) or affiliative (because of relationships that matter to me)?  I suspect the motivation experts who taught me did not anticipate that affiliative goals would include thinking about the dogs and horses and their needs and wants as well as the people in my life.

I take the time this weekend to set at least three process goals - and three outcome goals . Two for life, two for dogs and two for the horses.  I am not a New Year's Eve resolution person - for me they backfire and mean disappointment and frustration with myself  but 6 goals give me a little direction for the year. I am a flexible goal setter anyhow - if things need to change that won't bother me (though the reason for the change in plan might) so I can set aim at those goals.



How do you spend your long weekend?

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Not Webinars ... not clubs or chats ... something new is coming!

and while I am not quite ready to launch the whole shebang I want to get September dates, and the overall concept out there so you can start thinking and I can ease into this FUN stuff  that will make our heads hurt and our hearts full!

What inspired this concept?  YOU did. And wanting to help the most people possible and realizing that my "high touch" classes and private rates were out of reach for some people - wanting to help YOU work through the concepts and notions that are HARD and yet make a real difference in life ... I will commit to getting the next month's registration  with dates and times out on the 15th of the previous month - and you can hold me to it!! 




Ready?   Here we go!!

Big Ideas- Small Space- Awesome Results  
More Than A Webinar- because you deserve to be heard

Join me and up to nine other participants in a safe and private space for a live and interactive discussion on a topic that matters to you.
Questions and discussions, your case studies and solutions are the focus of the session; slides, information and stories are sure to be part of each chat too.   You will get a reading (not long) and some reflective questions to consider when you register. As well, you can save the chat roll from each session for your own personal use and get a copy of slides used.
Cost: $25 Canadian and when the spots are gone my not very automated system should  NOT let you sign up!
Times are expressed in Eastern Standard Time – and vary so that as many people as possible can participate!
Questions?  Please don’t hesitate to ask me!


Sept 3 (11 am) Using your super power to rock your training: anxiety, perfectionism, obsession, overthinking - whatever it is ... it can enhance your performance! 

Identifying and Making the Most of your Strengths to be the best partner possible - bring  your quirks to the table and we'll make them work FOR not against your goals!


Woohooo  -- had to come update and take the register button OFF the page - first day is DONE and it was fabulous.  As always there were a couple of first day glitches but I am ever grateful to the first day sell out group for their patience, great questions and super ideas! 
We sorted out a few things - they got two packages (cognitive distortions and cognitive flexibility)  before the event and I prepared just a few slides (which we didn't actually use)  that I will send out later tonight  ... that way there is lots of information and a framework for the people who can't make it but the incentive to get to the live event is high too - I think it will work and if it doesn't - so be it - we will adapt!! 
I am feeling much more confident and even more excited about these sessions and can't wait for the next one ...  there are only 5 spots left in that one so sign up soon if you are planning on joining us! I really hope you do!



Sept 21 (8 pm EST)
Trials – putting nerves where they belong to help you focus on success 
Nerves happen - what can you do to make sure you are the one controlling them - they aren't controlling you?  Physical, Emotional or Social impacts can all affect your game - how are your nerves sabotaging you and what can we do about it? Let's put your nerves to work!



Sept 25 (6 pm EST )Tips for Using Your tool box well – when where and how! Practice makes perfect and all that jazz!

What tools are you using? What tools need to move up? What tools do you need to practice and which have you always wanted to know more about? This is the space to figure out how to use your OWN tools for the most impact!


Upcoming Topics



October
  • You Know you Need it: Finding and Creating motivation that lasts
  • Managing That Green Eyed Monster: envy and jealousy in our life 
  • When it just sucks – handling a show/seminar that goes badly!

November
  • Being Positive in a Negative and Confusing World 
  • Mismatches happen: making the most of life with the “wrong” dog
  • Navigating friendships in competitive situations


December
  • Breeding and Adopting- finding your next companion without guilt and less stress
  • Anticipatory Grief - what is it and what can you do about it?
  • How your personality impacts your communication/training style


January
  • Vision boards, confidence corners and other ways to find inspiration 
  • Jan Confidence- Creating it- Keeping it
  • Jan Social Media: Pleasure or Peril, making the most of it!





                                                                                   
Also coming  (In no particular order!) :
Coping with Loss – Grief is real
Teaching Online
The Authentic You - in training, showing and life                                                                    Dream Life vs Real Life: the comparison trap
Creating safe spaces: at work, home or in life
Puppy Pressures: breeders, littermates - is the whole world is watching you?
Our Aging Friends: goals and reality meet
Conflict at a show .. or lesson
The Joy (or not) of teaching


do you have ideas for things you'd like us to cover? Let me know!!


Friday, August 24, 2018

Self care counts ... give this a listen

Another PODCAST in the CAN!
 



I might not have looked quite as perky when we finally got it done!!
Doing this podcast had some challenges in technology - and I have to admit I fell into some negative thinking traps myself - mostly of the :"what's the point in this angst - no one will want to hear what I have to say ". type .. Melissa was a fabulous interviewer and happily rolled with my "SQUIRREL" distractions We talked about a LOT and ranged fairly widely  it's a doldrums time of year for some people and it's a time of ramping way up for others ....I'd love to know what resonates most with you ... the piece I remember being happy with in the moment was drilling into what self care really is and what it should look like. Spoiler alert - I might not say what you expect to hear!!

Happy listening!

Do let me know if you have feedback - I knew the podcast was out but hadn't time to post  when  emails and messages starting arriving - that was lovely and so thoughtful.  It  also gives me ideas for other things you want to hear which is helpful for us all.

pc: Whitfield Photography - with great thanks!

I am working hard on three different projects - hoping very much they come together in a way that my mind can make sense of each of them soon! (training has happened too - and it's August so Sally has been lame - of course - more on that "fun" stuff soon!)


Saturday, March 31, 2018

I went for a walk this am. As a reward. Not for the dogs, for me.


It was a meandering walk  that covered a couple of kilometers and got some fence patched, some manure spread (our old fashioned method as we don't over-graze is kick -spreading - and no that's not an official term anywhere else!)  and checked our young trees.  The dogs ran, and smelled stuff and practiced farm parkour, and got wet  with no help from me.




I earned the reward by having the barn done by 10. Then I  helped  big T get a lovely old barn beam out of a falling building for our lovely neighbours  to use in their bathroom renovations. It was a good morning, and productive,  so a reward walk wasn't really essential but all who participated  enjoyed it.  One of us stayed home.



Thea isn't in a place where long pointless walks are her thing. She's determined and gritty and would have tried it had we asked her but she would have tired and perhaps over done it.  Considering in 22 days we reach the two year mark of the day I was sure she was dying  I don't do either of those things.  So when we got  home I sat in the sun with her for a  little. I put my phone down and  was present with her. She puttered  and sniffed and then lay down.




If we have ever worked together you might have a sense that is not often how I  spend time. You know what? It didn't kill me.  I  enjoyed it. Harbingers of spring deserve recognition and the dogs here, and people, and horses, and cats, and birds, all deserve to be appreciated for who they are.

When I first played agility so many years ago I was shocked at the way people at all levels didn't appreciate the dog they loved. They worked hard to be successful at agility but the dog was a tool to an end. (at least on the agility field)   They believed that  they had dominion and the dog did the sport because the human said so. It wasn't the way I thought  - dog sports were about team for me and  having such a variety of dogs to play with ensured that there was always someone up for nearly anything.



I have always  taken my dog into consideration - our first dog, Kelly, an Irish Setter - was amazing, and she and I spent  hours exploring the trails near our house. She's the dog who taught me the value of go no where walks .... not that we went no where - but we had no destination in mind - we just went, and went and went.

Today reminded me of her. Of us. Of the fun we had just being.  No earth shaking expectation of success, no need to prove anything - just friends, together being together for the sake of that and no more.  Love the dog you have. You might have a lovely surprise in store. If you are struggling to feel like team in the face of your challenges check out this term's FDSA course.  Sign up if you want - you might have a pleasant surprise in store!




 (Don't forget, actually you don't know this - I am also available for privates if you have a specific need!)

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Taking Care of Business - you!

Self Care - what does it mean? What does it really mean? It means including you in your planning, it means being aware of keeping yourself centered and in focus. It means not running yourself ragged endlessly for other people.  It might mean saying "No" sometimes. (yah  - I am still working on that one too!)

I am being absolutely sincere - you matter, often much more than you realize. To your family, friends and animal companions  - but also to the person who was feeling down that you smiled at,  and to the person who asked you for directions and ended up being on time for the job interview (that you didn't even know you were helping them with). You mean something to the judge you thanked for the fun day or the competitor who was thrilled you noticed how lovely their dog was. You touch people regularly and odds are pretty good you have no idea of the impact of you. Sometimes a kind or thoughtful Facebook comment or emoji has a bigger impact than you realize (Which is a little amusing really as you sure feel the impact of other people don't you? I do!)



Those of you who have followed this blog for any time at all know I like quotes and while the self care world is full of trite and inane quotes that make me shout at the computer at times
 I  still curated a few to look more closely at  as  2018 gains steam. Because really - why not make this the year of YOU!!  I've also included some links to some of the things that I have that might help you with self care. Well they will help you - I have plenty of assurances from others that they do but ... imposter syndrome and all that jazz ....




The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. 
– William James

Thoughts are guests in your body. They are. It's  tough concept that regularly comes up in my FDSA classes  so I get it if this makes you snort in derision. But you can learn to take control of your thoughts rather than letting them control you. One thing that many people find helpful is to pick one thought that is moderate and work on it  "irate thought - you don't belong go away!" or whatever.


If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.
 – Jack Kornfield

This reminds me of the notion of charity beginning at home. If you can't be good to yourself, at least sometimes, how can you truly be good to anybody else? Easy to say - harder to do and maybe the choices you make around this are not evident to an outsider but find the little things that are affirming for you. Do them. Cherish them.  When you start to feel on edge and overloaded STOP and think of how you can show yourself a bit of love! If you missed it check out the Love the One You Are (With) ebook/workbook and the facebook page too!



Lighten up on yourself. No one is perfect. Gently accept your humanness. 
– Deborah Day

You might want to think about joining the Gratitude Project if this is hard for you. It's a pay what you can email that dozens of people have joined and are sending me lovely feedback about noticing small changes in thinking that are leading to deeper appreciation of self and the world around them. It is pay what you can and it's a full year of emails  ... the sign up is set at $60 but if you want to pay more or can only afford less (honestly less is FINE) just let me know via comment, email or FB message and we'll get you in - with great pleasure! I would love to reach 100 people with this project and it literally takes 10 seconds of your time every day. Join us!! PAY WHAT YOU CAN!



It’s good to do uncomfortable things. It’s weight training for life. 

– Anne LaMott

That said sometimes it's ok to have a lazy day, a throw away day or otherwise let other people do the heavy lifting for a bit.    I've done my bit to help you through those rough days another way too with task card decks - the concept is you can pull a card out of a deck and get an idea to train or play or whatever you need to just get something done!  There's a specific self care deck I am particularly pleased with. 


Deck Choice




Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. 
– Steve Maraboli

So much yes from me on this one. Sometimes because of work, or family we have to do a little of this but it's OK to take a break from an exhausting friend, or even let somebody slide right out of your life.  

Self care isn't easy. It is highly personal - for me self care is not usually taking a bath with candles, wine and a trash novel - it's more likely grooming a dog,  cleaning tack, heading into the woods with dogs and camera  or writing a blog post. But that's alright - it's my self care! Its thoughtful and purposeful and recharges your inner flame. It may inspire you - it may simply mean you can cope with life for a little longer. No matter. It's important. 



Take care of you! For you and for the rest of your world too! Because you matter!!!


P.S.

If you aren't Canadian you might not know the song this title refers to but I bet you've heard it!

(just in case a video would help refresh your memory!!)


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

When all else fails - be kind.

I was writing a guest post this morning for a blog in Germany (how cool is that?) about 10 traits of happy trainers. You can be sure I'll share it when it goes up. But it got me thinking.

We, those of us who profess to be, or aspire to be, positive dog trainers sometimes miss one of the most important tenants of positive training. Be kind. As the Dalai Lama said,  "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible."  He wasn't talking about dog training, nor am I really (though my point applies to dog training too). People who want to be seen as positive dog trainers need to get their act together when it involves dealing with humans as much as when it involves a dog (or horse).



For real. In classes, at shows, at the grocery store. There are ways to be constructive that are not hateful or judgmental or nasty. There are ways to build people up, open up discussions and help without tearing people down. Those ways aren't easy nor are they intuitive for many of us but they are possible. Ask for help if you  really can't think of a positive way to work with people.  Stop chasing them and let them live their lives unless you are asked or invited to offer your opinion. Especially when it's about something already done. Honestly. How would it now be helpful to tell me that the dogs should never have met the coyote back in 2011? Or that dogs will climb shelves to get gum? I'll be blunt. It isn't and wouldn't be kind. If you want to have a discussion about how I balance agency and freedom and keeping my dogs as safe as I can? Well that's cool and a conversation I have pretty regularly.



On social media.  The keyboard warriors who look to attack people for transgressions, or differences need to get a grip.  The European proverb comes to mind "those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones". I  do things my way,  you do things your way. Sometimes we work  similarly and sometimes very differently.   Kibble? Raw? Home cooked?  Collar types?  Vaccination protocols?  Just because I thought long and hard about my choices for the dogs doesn't mean I won't respect your often different, choices. Don't presume that because Sampson had some complications from his double lumpectomy we weren't compliant with the vet. We were - but even if we hadn't been it would have been thoughtfully done and had cause.  Maybe ask instead of judge.



Leaping to assumptions makes an "ass of you and me" and is both frustrating and pointless.

Over the last few months I have watched a couple of FB sagas play out where instead of being supportive and compassionate some people jumped to presumptions that were at best unfair and thoughtless, and at worst cruel and malicious.



We all carry guilt and grief and sadness and concern. Dogs are dogs, and, in my world, have the right to be their doggy selves. We try to protect them and watch them and keep them from harm but the reality is there may be a tragedy lurking again in our lives. Would I love to wrap the dogs in bubble wrap? Sure. Is that fair to them? Sigh, Probably not.



So if you are about to preach, or judge, stop yourself. If you have a personal relationship with the person that is appropriate,  ask them if they'd like to hear feedback. (To be totally honest they have probably beaten themselves up and are feeling sad and guilty without any feedback from you AT ALL  but you can ask). If you don't know them personally but feel you must say your piece say it to a friend, privately in a message.  Start a thread asking a question on your own wall if you must to see what feelings are out there - but leave the person who is suffering ALONE if you can't be supportive and kind. Seriously.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Reasons to Record Keep

Letterman might be off air but his top ten lists provide a framework for me to highlight information I want to share with you and keep in my own brain.  Today I was reflecting on the importance of record keeping  and this top ten list took shape (This blog began over 10 years ago as a way for me to record keep along with the course maps I annotate to this day!)

Record keeping provides

10.  Accomplishment: Record keeping gives you a sense of further accomplishment - there is a pride in the act of record keeping that is worth internalizing! Yay you!



9.  Proactivity (yes I made the word up!) : Record keeping  identifies gaps and holes that you can fill in  - if you miss 4 contacts 5 sessions in a row you can see that and remedy it rather than worrying about contacts with no real sense of why you worry.

8. Connection:  Good records let you match beliefs to facts - is your front really straighter than two months ago? Check! This connection can also be a reminder that the path in dog training is not always strictly linear - it can be circuitous and wobbly.  Good records are a little like training wheels on a bike  - they can keep you moving forward and reaching outwards even when you get off kilter!



7. Efficiency: When you record keep it reduces your thinking and wondering time - should you work on weaves again? How long ago did you last train them? How did it go?  Planning is easier in the face of good record keeping.



6. Autonomy: You get to pick how, when and what you record keep. No judgement, no peanut gallery.  There are lots of different ways - and all work just fine!

5. Creative outlet who doesn't appreciate pretty systems, whiteboards and new pens?  Again though - make it work for you - no need for fancy if a + on training days is as much as you can manage right now -  the full working process that is best for you can be built gradually!


4.  Motivation: Especially if persistence is your downfall keeping records can help There are three elements of motivation that have particular application to dog training -  records can help with each one.  (Sam needs no record of his stick management program but it amuses me so I keep them occasionally!)

3.  Goal Setting help: Determining the right process or outcome goals can be tricky -  good records for training and showing will help you decide when a goal is met, or needs adjustment 




2. Time Management: for both extremes - the 3 minute trainers and hour and half trainers can see how time gets used which improves planning


1. Memories: You can treasure  your trials, triumphs and successes as long as you want  Looking back on Brody's trial note or Wyn's training records can always put a smile on my face or fill my heart a little.


So many great reasons to figure out a record keeping system that works for you. But right there is a KEY piece many people forget- your system has to work for you - if it's video, paper, audio notes, a system of symbols - whatever - it's great as long as it works for you!

If you aren't sure about your record keeping and motivation skills my No More Excuses course runs this term at FDSA   -   click HERE to register (a bronze spot is only $65 which works out to a heck of deal  when you know there are over 20 lectures already loaded!!)