“Courage is not the lack of fear but the ability to face it.” – Lt. John B. Putnam Jr.
When I tell people what I do for a living and how I got to where I am today the common response is “you are so lucky to be able to live your dreams.” Here is why I do not see it as luck.
Not only am I a dog trainer, I am an entrepreneur, I own K9 Rules Training Camp, located in Ellenton, FL. My husband is an entrepreneur; he owns a charter fishing company, Fishwater Charter Company. Did I think 10 years this is where we would be today? NO, I did not, but we did aspire to be doing something other than working long hours, traveling the country for work and working for someone else. One of my passions was dogs. As a child, I proclaimed to my mom “I am not going to have babies, I am going to have puppies!” and I stuck to my word. I did not know how I could possibly have a career working with dogs, unless I went to vet school, but I knew the time would come when I would figure out how I could spend most of my time with dogs. School did not come easy to me. I had to work extremely hard for every A or B I earned. I was jealous of friends who barely studied and had great grades. Veterinary school seemed like an insurmountable task after already having spent 6 years obtaining two college degrees. In the meantime, I worked hard in the corporate world of healthcare, consulting and project management, after all, that is what I had gotten those 2 degrees to do with my life. I saved money, I learned all I could learn about leadership, business development, management, psychology, sociology, teaching and working with people. Those are important skills for life...right?? In my free time, I started volunteering with rescues, shelters and advocacy groups – lots of hands on time with dogs, whenever I could make time. I participated in webinars, seminars, conference calls, read books and articles with opposing views, took online courses. I applied what I learned to my own personal dogs and those I volunteered with. I approached everything I did as a learning opportunity, seeking to get even one thing out of each of those opportunities, even if it was only what not to do or an approach I did not think would work for me and the dogs I worked with. Then doors started opening for me, at the time I thought “wow, so many odd coincidences…”. My own dogs were challenging and I vowed to help people so they did not have to go through some of the more challenging experiences I went through.
Petey, my initial introduction to pit mixes, took me down a path where I had to get into training to keep him out of trouble, for he was a handful as a young puppy, into everything and had allergy, skin and cancer problems. I had not idea what we were getting into when we saw this cute, tiny, compact puppy sitting so politely in the kennel as the local SPCA and I told my husband, "don't look now but there is a cute one over here!" My learning curve into he world of dog rescue started during the adoption process when they almost did not adopt him to us because we lived in a different city, across the bridge from their shelter, which would require an employee to drive 30 minutes for our home check since he was a "high risk" dog. Petey became my test grounds and guinea pig for all I learned or wanted to learn about, from training tools, to nutrition,to animal health, to sport training. Hard to believe he is 14 now and all-to-quickly approaching the end of his life. Thank you Petey for putting up with everything through the years and for being the impetus for following my dreams!
If you are looking for help with your dog in the Ellenton/Bradenton FL. area, contact us now!
So back to the statement about being lucky to live my dream. What I have realized over the past few months through lots of ongoing personal development, working with and following mentors is that none of this is LUCK. You make your own luck. It is determination. It is hard work. It is planning by identifying what I know and what I don’t know and figuring how to get the knowledge and experience I need but lack. I did not necessarily realize that is what I was doing in the past, but in retrospect, I realize I was building my skills for my future. I would see or hear of something that interested me and I learned more and pursued it to see if I really liked it or not. If I liked it, I figured out how and when to use that knowledge. I could have let my fears of failure or fear of what others thought about me or my future plans stop me from pursuing the apparent coincidences. Frequently, that is still a challenge for me, but I recognize it is a flaw I have and work on my self-confidence regularly.
Darren Hardy’s daily motivation this week reminded me to “feel the fear”. You have to face your fears head on, step into those fears to conquer them! Otherwise, we recoil from our fears, let them get in the way of our success or run from them. Think about Acute Stress Syndrome (a.k.a Fight or Flight). You can either take on what scares you and learn to conquer it or you can live a safe life, run from fears and never reach your full potential to live out your dreams. Follow Darren Hardy to learn more.
NOW….go, “be lucky,” grow and nurture YOUR dreams-what’s holding YOU back from making it happen?!