Are you dreaming big enough?

August 22, 2013 at 4:18 am 3 comments

I’ve been on a quest lately to inspire myself and others through my teaching and blogging. As I’m sure some of you have noticed, I’ve been blogging daily lately with the goal of helping others through their training and life struggles. I’m planning on continuing this trend in the future. Why? Because I’ve realized that it’s not only about achieving my own goals and dreams, but helping others feel that they can achieve their own…even if they doubt it themselves.

When I mention goals to my students, I often find that many of them set the bar very low when it comes to their expectations. Some of them even claim to have no expectations at all. Have you ever gone into a competition or training session telling yourself, “I’m just here to have fun, I don’t care what happens?” I’ve heard it many times as a coach and instructor. I’ve even been tempted to take this approach myself sometimes.

But sometimes there’s a spark…a ghost of a flame igniting your desire to succeed. And you realize that you can have so much more; be so much better; if you just push for that next level, whatever that may be for you. You can take this chance to embark on a path worth doing, to create your own journey to greatness. The question is, will you do it?

Hang onto the images flickering through your mind right now. Your dreams are there even if you can’t consciously describe them. They are dwelling right beneath the surface of the barriers saying “I can’t”, “It’s not possible,” or “I’m not good enough.”

These are the barriers I had to overcome when I applied for the 2005 world team with my first dog Mikki. I was told that he probably wouldn’t make it. People had already begun cutting me down telling me that he was a nice “steady” dog. Some were even blunter and flat out told me he was too slow. But part of me felt that spark of inspiration. And rather than being discouraged I decided that I was going to push myself to achieve what I at the time felt was impossible. I was going to make it to the world team. Now don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of people supporting me as well, and for those of you who offered your support I will be forever grateful. There were also many negatives thrown my way. At that moment I decided not to let others lessen my dream. Mikki and I went on the represent Canada at the FCI World Championships for three consecutive years. He ran 7/8 runs clean in his worlds career. And I owe it all to having a dream for something more. If I had allowed myself to be discouraged by what others thought possible for me, I never would have embarked on a journey that has completely changed my agility career and in doing so, my life.

Remember that this was MY dream. Yours may be completely different and it doesn’t make it any less important than mine.

I want to share this powerful video with you that I watched today. While watching I realized just how much the sport means to me, and just how special the bond is with my dogs.

Your dreams are just that, they are YOURS. No one can tell you what to dream. But it’s up to you to make them a reality.

Dream Big.

Take this oppourtunity to help those around you by sharing this post with those whom you wish to inspire.

“The only place where your dream becomes impossible is in your own thinking.” – Robert Schuller

Happy Training,
Jess Martin of Agile Dog Training


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mufaasa's Mum  |  August 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Another great post, please continue to be ridiculously prolific!

    This reminded me of a phrase often repeated by some of the people I train with. “I don’t need to do that because I’m not going to Worlds.”

    Even if you have no ambition to make it that far, that is not a reason to not want your dog to have more drive and enthusiasm for the sport, and to be as good at it as they can be (and you as well as a handler, of course!). Even if you never do anything outside of local trials, I think it’s important to hold on to a goal for yourself and your dog.

    I would love to make it to Worlds, and I have at least one dog that I’m sure could make it, and I train with that goal in mind, but I constantly remind myself to not let the goal get in the way of allowing my dog the time to get there at his own speed. Dogs are lasting longer and longer in this sport, so if he’s three, four, or seven when we make it that’s fine, but we’ll never progress if I give up now. If you decide to have no (or extremely limited) ambition, then you will have nothing to inspire you to work through your dogs troubles, and it’ll be easy to make excuses which get in the way of growth. But if you have a goal to hold on to you’ll keep thinking, and trying new things, and learning, and even if you *don’t* make it to Worlds with that dog, you will have progressed so much farther if you limit yourself before you even start.

    Of course, the goal doesn’t have to be “Make it to the top of the Sport”. Maybe it’s “Get to Nationals”, or “Teach this breed that conventionally sucks at this game to be brilliant at it.” Find the thing that gets you excited, and you’ll find a way to make it happen.

    I also think people get caught up in Qing and getting Titles as a goal, which I think is very limiting. I’ve had terrible rounds that still somehow resulted in a Q. I could keep doing those, or I could work hard so that we are more than “good enough”. Most of my favourite runs so far have involved me and my dog having a bar somewhere, but our connection was so strong, we felt so in tune that I didn’t care. Time and show-miles will help with the accuracy, and now that we have that connection that makes this sport so awesome I can move on to the next step. You know, the next step of many on our way to Worlds 🙂

  • 2. Em  |  August 23, 2013 at 6:36 am

    I’ve really been enjoying your daily blog posts!
    I’d love to hear more about how you motivated Mikki to be fast enough to make it onto the Canadian team. At the moment my young girl is shaping up to be a good dog, with a fast dogwalk, but not necessarily sprinting all the way around… I have a dream for what I want us to do, I’m just not sure how to get there yet with her. 🙂

    • 3. agiledogtraining  |  October 11, 2013 at 3:24 pm

      With Mikki it was all about finding the handling that really gave him a clear picture of where he needed to go. He wanted to be right all the time so if he wasn’t sure, he would slow down to make decisions. I also decided not to use a start line and just run with him for a few years (including when we competed at the word championships!). I found it made a big difference in his speed at the beginning of a course! Hope this helps!


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