I've just come across this article from 5 years ago and had to share again... Maybe because I love learning more than ever? 🙂 And because I've learned to love even the smallest wins...
I just love both - winning and learning! But if I had to choose what I love more... - then it's learning, of course.
Many people comment on what a great motivation my successes must be for future work. But actually, it's failures that motivate me. After winning World Championships, all I wanted is to go home and sleep and not do any agility for a while.
After finishing 10th in the first run, however, with a dog who only knows 1st places, I was motivated and focused. To all who said "great run!" to me after that 1st terrible run... - sorry for answering "no, it was terrible!" and making you feel I'm negative... - I was not being negative. - I was being positive!
Being 10th with a great run with a brilliant dog like Le would mean she is either injured or I did a terrible training mistake somewhere on the way to slow down the Super Midget. It would be very VERY bad news and would certainly make me really, really sad. But being 10th with that terrible run didn't make me sad at all. It motivated me, it helped me focus - I knew I can make that up and still win overall if I ended 10th even with a terrible run! So I did it, I won the next run by well over a second - even with a little blooper after the see-saw when I was being so proud of that perfect see-saw that I lost focus for a moment... - Yeah, successes are never good for my focus!
So to all my students who send me their trial runs for review and I tell them they could still be 2s faster... - it's not meant as a criticism - it's meant as a compliment! I'm just saying that your potential is even higher - isn't that the best possible news?
I always say that if I ever reach perfection, I'll stop doing agility as it will get boring. So hopefully, I never reach perfection and can continue to have fun, trying to get better&better. THAT is my motivation. Getting faster, smoother, more efficient, better. THIS is the fun part. Standing on the podium is the boring part.
I remember my first seminars... I would point out what could be better after each run and they would all look at me really disappointed and then some would dare to ask "but how was the rest?" and I would say "yeah, the rest was good, so no need to redo, let's just focus on that terrible turn, this is our window of opportunity, we can make that SOOO much better and gain sooo much time, you lost 2s just on that one turn!" - O.k., maybe not in so many words, but you got the point! I eventually learned not everybody is so excited about (fixing) failures and learned to point out the good things as well, but when I'm training, I'm always searching for failures that we can then fix. I NEVER run a course/sequence where I don't see an opportunity for failure. Why bother to run it if we can do it already, right?
Hence, even when I'm competing, I'm searching for failures! All my favorite judges are known for killer courses! Ah, I LOVE challenges! I would choose going off course on a difficult course over clean run on an easy one any time, any where. You will never hear me complain about the course being too difficult. But I will certainly complain over too easy courses!
And well, I guess I love teaching because I love learning - there is sooo much to learn from different dogs! And the reason I like online classes so much more as seminars, to the degree that I stopped giving seminars altogether, is that unlike seminars, where I can give my ideas, but can't see how it worked in long term, online classes give me lots of feedback on how my methods work with different dogs - and help me improve them! I'm very grateful to my students for sharing their training challenges with me and letting me learn more about different dogs - and my own methods!
Ah, I just love learning! Nothing is more boring than perfection and nothing is more interesting than failures - such a great opportunity to learn something new, to improve, to get better!
Never be afraid to fail. Be afraid to not try! Try, fail, learn - that's how we progress. Failing is good - and a terrible run is not a terrible thing! It can be a good thing as well! 🙂
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