Crazy Dog Lady Reporting for Duty.
I am officially a crazy dog lady.
I am obsessed with our 10-month-old corgi/Jack Russel rescue. Her name is Bama and she loves chewing on anything she can get her mouth on; chasing after anything that moves on the sidewalk (birds, rabbits, leaves, you name it); sitting perched at the window like a cat as she looks out at the world with wonder. She does not like: Car rides in the city.
She also loves going to school to learn new tricks and how to be a good girl (and, let’s face it, getting treats and praise). I don’t know what I was expecting with doggie school but I can tell you that it wasn’t a deeper insight into coaching people.
That is exactly what going to Urban Pooch as done: Given me more empathy and a deeper understanding of how to set myself and others up for the greatest amount of success when learning new skills and habits.
Yes, as a coach I help people get stronger and help them shift some of their behavior around food but at the core, isn't my biggest responsibility to help my clients tap into their potential to be their most awesome self?
Over the next few weeks, I'll explore some of my biggest Aha! moments and what I've been reminded of while bonding with Bama. And I hope it sparks a little something with you at the same time.
Week 1: Start Where You Are
Can you imagine bringing a not-yet-fully-housebroken puppy to its first day of doggie school and expect them to know how to "stay!" after one lesson? Would you expect a baby who’s just learned to roll over to know how to walk the next day? Would you expect anyone to hold a conversation in Japanese after one class? Would you expect yourself to be able to be really good at pushups a week after starting to learn them?
Logically, we can understand how the above scenarios make no sense and yet when it comes to us, we often do not give ourselves the grace of taking a good, hard look at where we are in our process.
We are high functioning people who learn quickly but when our bodies don't react the way we expect them to in the time that we've given ourselves, we can get frustrated and fold in the towel.
But what if we learned to understand where we REALLY are and meet ourselves there?
We’ve been trying to teach Bama to “stay”. Which she doesn’t understand because she wants to follow us around everywhere! So when learning “stay” at school, I was at a loss because I’d start to take a small step back and she would automatically move toward me.
Pamela (the instructor) saw I was struggling so she came over to give some guidance. “Try asking her to stay and then moving only one leg back?” “Really? But then I'm not even moving away from her.” “Think of it from her perspective: She's a puppy who wants to be at its owner's side and it's suddenly going to know how to stay put as you walk away from her? It’s OK to start really small,” she said, “because then you can build on the skill little by little.”
We practiced with me stepping literally one leg back. She stayed. Once she'd practiced that for a while, we were able to make the game harder: I stepped one leg back and shifted my weight back with it. She stayed! A while later I took an actual two-legged step back… SHE STAYED AGAIN! And as we've been practicing all week, she's learning to "stay" as I walk further and further away!
Bama needed to start with far more elementary steps than some of the other dogs in the class and that was 10000% OK. We were able to meet her where she was and where she needed to start and, thanks to that, she's been able to make great strides!
Why can’t we treat ourselves like that?
It can feel soul crushing to seem like you're not moving forward with your health and fitness goals. If frustration happens when reality and expectations don't match up, could it be that we need to reexamine our reality? What if we took a little bit of time to figure out where we truly are instead of where we think we *should* be?
Y'all: Sometimes spending time on the ground floor is the only way to move forward and up. And SOMETIMES we find out there are floors below that we should visit. These times aren't setbacks; they're just ways we get to lay a strong foundation.
I mean who wants to stay in a house built on a foundation made of straw? I'd rather stay in a house built on a foundation made of carefully poured out concrete :) Wouldn't you?