No More Excuses has just started over at FDSA and I was thinking about the acronym for it – NME (Enemy) BAM!  The course covers getting personal  enemies to success knocked right out of your park.  The course looks at motivation, habits,  training, prioritizing and taking care of you (and more – always more – I have the most amazing students).  Welcoming the students led me to thinking about what the ‘enemy’ is for animal sports people.  There are lots of enemies – many of which I tackle with my students in different ways – planning, goal setting, self care – the list is long. The course l also explores personal enemies. There is lots of material as different people end up blocked in different ways and pushing through those blocks takes work.  Sometimes I feel badly for the hard work students do,  then I realize I work right alongside them.  So I feel better!

What captured my attention today though was the notion that competitive can be seen as a negative thing. And, in the interests of disclosure I need to admit I am just a little competitive. If a little means winning matters to me.  What surprises some people is that my winning might not always mean a podium placement or even picking up a ribbon earned. Winning can mean getting to a show. Or setting up a friend for success. Or a PQ (personal qualifying run) instead of a Q or getting a nervous dog relaxed at a trial.  It can also mean winning. Winning a first, setting a record, beating someone else, earning a title.

Winning does not mean you care less (or more) about your dog than someone else.  There is no shame in saving your pennies and entering shows and classes with the intention of winning. People who want to win are not out to get any one else. Many of them are likely actually competing against themselves. Striving to do better and be better than the last time they were in the ring as it were. If you are competitive that’s OK. That’s more than OK.  That’s a good thing, it can become a driver for your training, your motivation, your appreciation of dog sports.

To be competitive does not mean your dogs are less a part of the family, or less of a treasure to you.  It suggests you care about success and want to work to build something. This is something you can take pride in. Not shame. There are SO many ways to let your competitive light shine: in person and online. There truly is something for everyone and every dog. Reach out and find a venue organization and sport to test. See if you are internally or externally competitive and figure out what puts a smile on your team’s face.

Happy trials! And trails too!