We also learn when things go right!

big events mental stamina Apr 16, 2024

I often annoy my coaching clients by "making them" understand why they had a good weekend. It's funny, handlers don't want to focus on the good with me; they want to talk about their problems instead. I get it - we're all trying to get better, and we believe we do that by focusing on the "challenges."


However, we can learn a LOT by mining the good to understand what we need to repeat and do more of. In general, we need to focus on what we want instead of what we don't want.


So, I'm taking my own advice and dissecting why I recently had such an excellent national specialty. What made this one different? What do I need to repeat in the future? I trialed eight consecutive days, with three days having conflicts between performance and conformation. In total, I was in the ring 26 times (plus a veterans parade). Oh, and there was an almost-tornado (not trying to repeat that!).


Here's what I did right:

I stayed "loose." I can honestly say I had the fewest outcome goals I've ever had at a national specialty. I typically hit the show grounds with intensity for all the things I want to accomplish. And while I had outcome goals, I wasn't "gripping" in the same way I've done before - you know, where you can feel your desires in your neck muscles?! This year, I showed up softer, with fewer expectations and more open to how the week would unfold. I kept my goals simple, focused on the process, and trusted in our abilities. 

I visualized. year before this event, I started visualizing - no kidding. I imagined staying onsite in my own RV (that I didn't yet have); I imagined people congratulating me outside the front entrance; I imagined great weather and many other moments. I didn't just visualize my runs; I visualized the experiences I wanted. I decided to have a great week way before it came to fruition.

I ate well. I did a big grocery haul and spent time meal-prepping before I left for the week. While I snacked more, I never bought food at the show and usually ate my own food. This made a HUGE difference in how I felt each day. {I still did not drink enough water, though.}

I took down time. For me, recharging means spending time alone which sometimes meant I was in my jammies at 7 after a long, hot shower. It also meant long walks around the Purina property with my dogs, who also needed downtime.

I had dinners with friends and family. One night, we had a big group dinner at a friend's RV; another night, I met my cousin for pizza; nearly every night, I had a cocktail with a dear friend; I went to a couple of events.

I skipped several events. I was very deliberate with how I spent my evenings, skipping anything that wasn't a "heck, YES!" No "shoulds." No obligations.

I stayed in my own lane. This is a nice way of saying I minded my own business - not always easy when surrounded by the various dramas of a big event.

I decided to be happy. Yes, this is a decision each of us can make. We can either complain about not getting any sleep because of an insane storm or smile and hold doors for people. We choose our perspective, and I decided to have fun!


You could sum up my actions in two big buckets. First, I controlled what I could control. Second, I wallowed in the process (and journey) of it all. Now, I must narrow down all the photos I want to purchase and start visualizing next year!

Wanna get these sent to your inbox?

Trade me your email addy and I'll send you the latest news and updates from our team. Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. I will never sell your information, for any reason.