It's not all fun and games.

energy mindset Nov 07, 2023

On the heels of what ended up being a very impactful podcast last week on fun (who knew?!), I heard about "The Rule of Thirds."


While I'm sure there are other versions out there, the one I heard was from the perspective of an Olympic athlete being told about the Rule of Thirds by her coach. The athlete says she had a terrible workout just before a major competition, which was getting in her head. The training left her doubting if she could perform when it mattered most.


Her coach was unfazed and told her it was The Rule of Thirds. He said to her that when chasing a big dream, goal, or anything difficult, one-third of the time, you are meant to feel good. One-third of the time, you will feel okay, and one-third of the time, you will feel crappy.


He explained that this third-third-third ratio is exactly what you want. Too much feeling good means you aren't pushing hard enough. Too much feeling crappy and you will fatigue and become frustrated past the point of useful. Too much feeling okay says that nothing is changing.


I thought about this Rule of Thirds a LOT this week, not only relative to the recent podcast on FUN, but also in the coaching calls I had with clients. Handlers often schedule a call when frustrated, and I'm even more convinced now that this is fabulous!


Frustrated means handlers are trying to improve, but the gains are coming slower than expected (or desired). They feel like they are giving but not receiving - working but not seeing the reward for the effort. Here's the thing: I don't coach contented handlers - I work with people who want more - so it makes sense to have these conversations.


The Rule of Thirds gives me a new way to approach frustration on one end of the continuum and fun on the other. If we are striving for something, it won't be fun all the time. But if we are living in the "crappy" zone for too long, it's no wonder we feel defeated. The good news is we get to control the ratio to some degree.


Those of us with multiple dogs usually have those dogs spread out in terms of effort and gain. That is, one dog might be the "comfortable slipper," and the young dog might be the source of your frustration. Individually, the ratio of each dog is off, but together, it works. Our "comfortable slipper" dog makes us feel good and gives us energy, while the young dog takes our energy and makes us feel crappy.


I hate to tell you, but that's balance and still within the ratio of this concept. What we want to ensure is that if we are frustrated, we know how to find joy - even if it's with another dog or even another hobby. We want to stay balanced enough in our energy so we can do good work with our dogs and ourselves.


This sport we love won't be fun all the time, but we love it, and we're only quitting once they pry the leash out of our hands! The trick is to seek balance not only so we have enough positive energy to train and compete, but also so we are met with the spoils of our efforts. Zoom out, look at the bigger picture, and evaluate your efforts and energy. You're probably doing way better than you think!

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