“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Interesting assertion made by Teddy Roosevelt.
Comparing yourself to others sets a bar of success that is unrelated to you.
It sets you up for spiraling thoughts of where you fall short, and gives up your power to someone else.
It can leave you defeated as you start on your own goals.
For instance, when you see your neighbor or a random stranger walking their dogs and their dogs are walking step in step with their person, you may see this as the ideal.
When you compare what is going on with you and your dog to this complete stranger or even family member, you may not know what it took to get there.
Rather than judging yourself to someone else’s achievement, ask yourself, “what do I want to achieve? How will I get there? Am I willing to do the work? What do I want my dog and myself to experience? Will I want support to get me to the other side of learning something new?
The only way to gain confidence in doing something new is to take action. You have to get through some fear before you take the first step.
Give yourself permission to mess things up and not get things right the first time. Or the second or the 80th. Life isn’t perfect and when we expect ourselves and our dogs to do it right always, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration.
Not to mention, it is totally unfair to pass these expectations on to your dog who is along for the ride and has no say in the matter.
Your dog is learning too.
Be kind to yourself and your dog.
You have permission to give yourself compassion for not getting it right. Stay open in learning something new, allow for new information to be accommodated into established beliefs and be comfortable with discomfort.
When you feel like you and your dog hit a wall with learning, find the positives of what you accomplished.
You may start off thinking the goal is at the top of an insurmountable mountain, but when you recognize the smallest of successes, you can see where you are going and you take the next step on your journey.
Some things to consider:
🔑 When you find yourself comparing what your doing with your dog to someone else and their dog, ask yourself: “What am I looking to achieve?” “What do I need to get there?” “How will I get started?” “Am I willing to put in the work?”
🔑 You also want to take a look at how you show up when things are messy and confusing. This is a first step in acknowledging that there will be bumps in the road. This will help you level your own expectation and humble you that you won’t get it right every time. You may also take a look at how your limiting beliefs try and tell you aren’t good enough, because those will for sure show up at these times and try to stop you from climbing your mountain.
🔑 Start off your training session and ask yourself, “how do I want to feel during practice?” “How do I want my dog to feel during practice?” This can be your barometer to measure what is feeling light, fun and building a connection between you and your dog. When it stops being those things, then take a break! I’ll go one step further and learn from this and adjust your practice so you can end on a good note. By ending on a good note, you and your dog will want to do this again later. This will feed you and your dog’s motivation.
🔑 Celebrate your wins. Celebrate them regardless of how big or small. Celebrate them even when something else didn’t work.
🔑 When you experience something not working during practice, shift your perspective into what about this not working is trying to tell me. There’s always information which can change performance in the next round if we are willing to take a look at what didn’t work during this round.