My MACH: A study in disconnection

best of the blog mental skills Nov 07, 2017
Photo by Rich Knecht

Any of us who have wanted something so bad, know what it’s like to push it away. The Universe abhors desperation after all. Most of the time it’s because we take our minds off of the process and focus solely on the outcome. It rarely goes the way we desire.

For me, recently, that “something” was the one (1!!) point I needed to earn my big agility title – a first for me. We had whittled it down to needing just a single point and Q-ing in Standard usually put many points on our tally. So I just needed this one Q on this one day on a nice course at a favorite venue. Simple, right?
Actually, it was simple but I made it SO hard!! Oy! I over-handled everything, getting fewer points than usual – I was basically running “defensively” instead of going for it or instead of anything resembling “normal.” My un-stated mantra became, “don’t screw it up.”

In addition, the moment became all about me instead of what got me to that point: my teammate. Indie and I have developed this wonderful connection that fills me with pride. Yet, in this run I was so in my head someone could have switched dogs on me and I might not have noticed! Shameful!

However, it was that connection and trust built over years that saved us. We had our same “pre-game” routine which we did. I thanked her as I always do for playing the game with me, and I told her I was nervous but excited. But as soon as I left her on the line, I left her connection-wise, too. I remember when she looked at me on the table, it was with this, “WTF?!” look. I knew I was being an idiot but I just couldn’t get back in the seconds we had left.

I carefully handled the last line and were clean. I was as much relieved as I was excited. Indie definitely responded to the more-than-normal cheers as we went to shake the judge’s hand, and she definitely enjoyed the post-run attention! Yet, I knew that while I was so busy over-thinking, my dog got that Q in spite of me! (Which, thankfully, is not the same as “to spite me!”)

To disconnect is to lose communication in a team sport. Think about that, how would a team ever win if they can’t communicate?! Ridiculous. As a result, that run certainly won’t be remembered by me for its smoothness or execution – I’m actually thrilled no one videoed it! But it serves as the best reminder to trust and stay connected – a reminder I will need when we head to Orlando.

So I guess I got a ribbon AND a valuable lesson 😉

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