I’m doing a Q&A on Twitter! Join me THIS TUESDAY 4th March from 3.00-3.30pm ET /8.00-8.30pm GMT and use hashtag #askm2w and I’ll be waiting to answer your questions! I can’t wait, this is going to be fun! 🙂
See you Tuesday!
*12 individual lessons,
*immediately available to you,
* to complete at your own pace.
Each lesson has:
*a different focus
*applicable questions to get you thinking through the specifics of your situation
* PLUS DAILY: a practical exercise for you to immediately go and practice.
Read on for a special offer, just for this weekend!
I’m including proven effective exercises– these are some of the ones my clients have learned from me and told me they’ve used most to develop their own Mind to Win- including clients who’re now competing at Nationals (e.g. UK, US, Canada, CZ, NZ) Olympia, Crufts, and at world levels for multiple countries.
So if you want to finish 2013 stronger, The Mind to Win Days of Christmas is an easy way to start. Online, in your own personalized member’s are of www.mindtowin.co.uk, day or night- read it when it suits YOU!
From 25th November – 2nd December ONLY, you can get this course for £
57 just £45!!!
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It’s my privilege to help you achieve your goals,
There are many things we know we should do and yet don’t… often times because we don’t FEEL like doing them.
This can be a way that we limit ourselves- we only do what we FEEL like doing, at any given moment. Yet, we know logically, that sometimes the very thing we need to be doing is something that we frankly just don’t want to. And that is where discipline comes in.
I know it’s practically a dirty word these days, but discipline is when we do what we know needs done, regardless of how we feel about it. It’s what helps us achieve our goals, because honestly, no matter how badly you want something, there are going to be times on your journey towards it when you absolutely DO NOT want to take the step you need to. Call it fear, call it tiredness, call it laziness, call it whatever you want, but we ALL have times when teeth-gritted discipline is what is required.
*You won’t always want to train- especially when you or your dog are struggling to pick up a new handling maneuver.
*Eating healthily when your favourite treats are on the go is going to take a decision to go against what you ‘feel’ like doing!
*Getting enough sleep or staying sober when there’s a party going on, so you’re fresh for that qualifier in the morning… yeah, that might take some discipline too…
*Knowing when your dog has had enough and stopping, rather than keeping training because of YOUR anxiety- that takes discipline.
*Ignoring someone who’s trying to wind you up and distract you rather than giving them a piece of your mind… once again, what you *feel* like doing and what you do are two different things.
And the great news is- you have already succeeded in being disciplined in MANY other circumstances, so you can do it again! You HAVE experience of being disciplined…
*Unless you’re a psychopath, at some point you learned that taking out your frustrations and hitting people didn’t end well for you, so you learned to reign in the impulse to hit
*You learned that you really do need to sleep, so even if you don’t get enough sleep, you have grown out of the ‘5 more minutes’ routine you used to use on your chosen parent.
*You have learned to buy food or there won’t be any in the house.
*You know to turn up at work when you’re supposed to- regardless of how you feel about it!
Simple things, you might say, but still evidence of your ability to develop discipline, and in spectacularly mundane circumstances. Now we just need to generalize your behaviour to things you actually enjoy and want to do your best at.
At times we are GOING to have to go BEYOND what we ‘feel’ like doing. Whether it’s training our dogs, ourselves, eating healthily, getting to bed at a decent hour, not cheating on our partners, behaving responsibly financially, turning up to work, or WHATEVER area of life you want to think about, there are ALWAYS going to be times where what we want RIGHT NOW is there in front of us and we have to choose between that and what we want MOST.
Of course, that means we need to have a clear idea of what we want most, and I have a whooole class on that coming up in the new year for you, but my point is: if you want to achieve your goals, let alone your dreams, there are going to be times when you have to over-rule what you ‘feel’ like doing now, in favour of what you know you should do right now. And that is ok.
Sometimes we forget that when a thought or feeling pops into our head, we actually have a choice what to do with it– we don’t have to follow every single one!
You’re not a robot, so choose: what you feel like doing right now or what you feel like achieving ultimately.
I’m writing this as a blog rather than just to my 7 Deadly Sins class because I know this is going to be an ‘aha’ moment for some of you- encouraging you that you CAN choose to ignore a feeling or go against the crowd. You can do it! So take those dreams, sprinkle them with discipline and watch what happens!
Let me know how you’re getting on and please share it with anyone you think might benefit.
Thanks for reading, it is my pleasure to encourage you to be more!
What on earth do your driving habits have to do with competing in dog sports?
When I lived in the South of England, I used to love taking day trips with my car to France. Any excuse and I’d be over there like a shot for even a taste of a different culture and French cuisine. I loved the drive down to the Ferry, the ferry journey (notably because it was pretty quick!) and getting to drive around all day on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. It was a simple pleasure but it still never gets old for me… and having taken the tunnel en route to Belgium for WAO 2012, I’d be even quicker to nip across if I lived in that area now!
If, like me, you’ve ever taken the ferry with your car from England to France, you will have arrived to be greeted by signs reminding you to drive on the right!!! We in the UK drive on the left, so this is a fair warning that we need to change our habit in order to safely drive in France or beyond. The habit that safely got us to France is not going to get us through it!
Bottom line: we need to change our habit!
What was comfortable and felt instinctive is now being challenged as we have to consciously remember where we need to be to turn left across traffic, or how to go round a roundabout the ‘wrong’ way… to begin with it’s all going to feel rather unnatural, will likely take far more energy than driving our habitual way would cost us, and we might wonder if choosing to drive in this foreign land was even a good idea in the first place…
maybe I should just have stayed in England.
Maybe I’m not ‘meant’ to drive abroad.
Maybe it takes a special type of person to drive on the other side of the road…
maybe you just needed to give your brain time to adjust and get used to it, and keep working at it in the meantime!
But what on earth does driving in France have to do with dog sports?
If we want to progress, we often need to change our habit. What got you to the place you’re at now, where perhaps you feel ‘stuck’ is going to require you to get beyond what is comfortable and habitual for you if you want to go further. Just like exploring Europe by car requires a Brit to develop new habits in their driving repertoire, so if you are going to explore new ‘territory’ in your dog sport endeavours, you too will have to develop habits that fit with this new territory. So for example, if you’ve always seen yourself as a ‘novice’ and behave and treat yourself like one, your habits are likely going to get in the way of you progressing to more elite levels. At some point, the habit of treating yourself and behaving like a novice is going to trip you up…
If you’re in the habit of only seeing the bad in yourself, you may have heard echoes of yourself in the faulty mindsets I mentioned above (I’m not ‘meant’ to… it takes a ‘special type of person’ to do that…). To go further, you’re going to want to challenge those habitual mindsets.
This week I hope you’ll go further, step out of your habitual comfort zones and explore new territories!
I’d love for you to come on over to Facebook and tell me how this blog has impacted you.
Make it a great week!
“and…. we’ve barked our way all the way into Grade 3 at last! yippeeee – Mind to Win for the Win!”
“Thank you so much Katherine – what an amazing day at Crufts today!! Mum was SO calm, even in the middle of the main arena! We had the best time! Results were a bonus – the fun we had was the best result of all! x”
“I know I have changed my whole attitude since meeting you. I’m identifying training for each dog and working at my own fitness in a far more positive way than I ever did before.“
– Edwina Brown
I have to be honest, I think I powered through Crufts on adrenaline! Four dog-filled days- well 5 for me actually as I was seeing clients on the Wednesday too- and I think I’m still trying to recover, several days later!! But WOW.
Mind to Win-ers, you blew me away!!! Obviously client confidentiality forbids me from shouting out all the names (though I would reeeeally like to!) but I was in awe of the performances each of you put in. Forget the technical stuff for a minute- it was your confidence and attack, as if you’d been BORN to step out on that stage that got me. There was not a single Mind to Win-er who stepped out in the arena in a way that looked uncertain or that made me feel nervous. You all went for it- some of you it worked out technically on the day too, some of you, it didn’t. Oh well. You got useful experience and training data and more importantly, you scored a psychological WIN! Those are hard won and I know what it’s taken for some of you to achieve that success under pressure, and I’m so proud of you for being psychologically focused and white-hot when it mattered most!
And for some of you it worked out on technical AND psychological fronts and it was my privilege to get to celebrate with you 😀
I was also honoured to meet some of you who’ve taken my courses, read my articles or ‘like’d my Facebook page. You have no idea how much it encourages me when you tell me the difference something I’ve said or written has made to you– I cherish those comments so THANK YOU to each and every one of you who said hello and took time to share your story with me at Crufts.
But what’s next? What are you aiming for next? For those of you who’ve achieved your Crufts dream- what’s your new dream? For those of you who weren’t there- including all of you across the globe reading this:
What are you aiming for this year?
What goal is your training moving you closer to?
Let me know- come on over to Facebook and tell me what you want to achieve this year!
Keep going and dream big!
When you start changing and going after your goals and dreams, what will “they” think?!
This is a common issue that comes up for some of my clients- maybe you recognize it: you’ve been around for a while and have reached a certain standard. But your mind, confidence and general attitude to pressure have been the weaknesses in your work. NOW though, you’re working on it and no longer going blank in the ring. You’re starting to step up and trust your training, and it’s working! Your confidence is rising and you begin to imagine goals for yourself…
…At first nobody seems to notice, and in a way that’s kinda nice as you can just work away in peace…
BUT THEN you start looking better… your handling is improving and now you’re starting to be more consistent- clear runs are starting to happen and maybe even places…
People start to notice that you’re more of a contender than you were before. Some of them pretend not to notice and deliberately ignore the obvious improvements. And some ask. They assume you’re going to talk about some trainer who’s been tightening your turns or whatever, but their face is a picture when you tell them you’ve been doing some psychological work!!
Their replies range from raised eyebrows to downright incredulity mixed with scepticism. As you become more positive and quit whining and blaming everyone/everything else, they may begin to make snide comments about how upbeat you are. They can be downright cruel, in fact, and sometimes you just have to forgive them their ignorance and stay focused on what you know is working for you.
As they get ever more intense with their dogs, you’re enjoying yours more and it’s paying off…
And then here comes the sweet moment- when one day “they” turn around and say ‘I want what you’ve got’…
This is a true story, by the way, and the direct quote I just mentioned was said at one of my workshops by someone who had previously been very skeptical! But they couldn’t argue with the changes they were seeing (and the results).
But what about what “they” think?
KEEP WORKING- let others worry about whether this is a good direction for you or not. You’re tired of being stuck and you have things you know your dogs could achieve, so keep doing your psychological workouts and stay focused. That’s your job. If “they” want to distract themselves and talk about you or have opinions on you, that’s their business. YOU stay focused and keep working.
You can do this. It’s merely a matter of whether you want to bad enough that you’ll give up worrying about what “they” will think.
So do you? Come on over to Facebook and comment to let me know you’re committed to focusing on what you want to do more than worrying about what others will think! I’ll see you there!
Let’s talk about teaching your dog a new behaviour, specifically proofing behaviours.
Think about how you taught your dog anything- how did you go about it?
Once you thought they knew what they were supposed to do, what did you do next?
At some point in the process, you will have tested their knowledge, right? You want to know that they really do understand their job- so whether you do it as you go along (e.g. taking your weaves to different places at each stage of teaching) or whether you teach them something thoroughly in one environment before trying it elsewhere- at some point you’re going to proof what your dog does. You’re going to generalize the behaviour and aim to proof it against distractions etc.
You’re no different!
And you my friends are no different. Once you start learning your new mindset attitudes and behaviours, you’re going to have to keep training them! Just like I talked about before in train your brain like your dog’s contacts (blog), you have to practice, train and KEEP WORKING at it. And just like you’d keep reinforcing throughout your dog’s career, the same is true for you in your mindset training.
And as you get the hang of it, you need to PROOF it- perhaps not with big lumps of sausage as distractions, but working on different distractions- working out which distractions you can now ignore and where you need to do a bit more work.
You also need to generalize behaviour: You wouldn’t expect your dog to generalize everything perfectly the first time it had ever worked away from your training ground, so why expect yourself to? You’d adjust for different weather, equipment etc. for your dog- the same is true for you!
Just because your job doesn’t change as you compete in qualifiers, semis, finals etc., doesn’t mean that you’ll instantly generalize the way you might like to. It takes practice!
So keep working- even after you’ve attended my seminar or taken my online classes, don’t think that’s it- that’s really where the work begins! You learn WHAT to do, we’ll always have discussed where YOU are strong or have growth areas (assuming you actually participated of course!) and then you get to go out to train and proof it for yourself!
PROOF your mindset by keeping working at it- working out where your strengths are, and where you still have room to grow. And like you would for your dog- get training!! You don’t need to go it alone, and having an outsider’s perspective can really save you a lot of grief.
Be kind to yourself the way you would your dogs- and KEEP WORKING!!
Check out the child below.
That child is learning to walk- he’s going to fall a LOT. But he’ll get up and keep trying again and again, until he gets the hang of this walking thing. That was once you. Learning to walk… learning to eat with a knife and fork, learning to read and write, later on learning to ride a bike, later still learning to drive- you didn’t get the hang of any of those things without practice, work and multiple failures (which did sometimes hurt!). But YOU KEPT GOING. And THAT, my friend, is how I know that YOU, YOU reading this right now, can change your mindset, because you have a track record of hanging in there and making changes that enable you to do things you once couldn’t. You have a history of successful change.
Have a great day, and come over to Facebook and tell me one thing that you want to ‘proof’ for yourself!
Kathrine McAleese, M.S. is the dog sports psychotherapist, performance coach, speaker, writer and cheerleader of excellence. Her unique talent is helping dog handlers take simple, useable mindset principles to build their confidence and focus so they can compete as well as they train. She has been helping clients reach their dog sport goals since 2005 and, serving dog owners worldwide, Kathrine’s seminars, workshops and hugely successful online courses help average and elite competitors alike to get results.
“It’s hard to explain how much better I feel knowing that I’ve got so much more to work on with my mind and with Pip, but everything is so positive now, (even the poor runs!) Keep up the good work… you can take all the credit for the way I’ve changed.” Edwina Brown
“Thank you Mind to Win – you’ve definitely helped Mum – she held her nerve and kept calm and we came 4th overall in the Large Novice ABC yesterday at Discover Dogs and now we’ve qualified for Crufts!!” ‘Henry’ Lyon
“Thank you! Loved your talk today, lots to think about and juggle with (ps cool boots too)” – Sue White
“Mum really enjoyed your talk at the KC seminar yesterday – she’s come back buzzing! Lots of positiveness (is that a word!) for next weekend at DD. Thank you” – ‘Henry’ Lyon
“Have to say also it was brilliant this weekend. Thank you so much for coming over. I am still buzzing.” -Rebecca Taylor
“Thank you for a great seminar and clinic this weekend. Really enjoyed both, and have taken lots away to put into practice :-)” -Kath Veale
“Thanks very much for 2 fantastic sessions. I’ve learnt a lot and will be taking loads forward with me.” -Sharron Taylor
In the photo above, you can see a rather flooded agility field. Only a few days before this photo was taken, I was running a Mind to Win workshop there in glorious sunshine! None of us imagined that within a few days, you’d be able to canoe through where we were running!
But the unexpected happens- you get injured, you need surgery, and it can be hard to think of beginning again.
Beginning again in dog sports
One place where even the most confident handlers can come unstuck is after an injury to themselves. Even those who have never experienced a moment of self-doubt in competition often struggle when they’re coming back after an injury. It’s normal. You had the mental and physical thing sorted and then your body got hurt- now what you thought was an indestructible machine has proven itself breakable. And that chink of weakness undermines your confidence in everything else that you once thought was unbreakable. Now you find yourself hesitating to really sprint or not wanting to turn quickly for fear your knee ‘goes’ again… You may find yourself obsessing over the surface your obedience classes will be held on and worrying about whether your shoes will have enough/too much grip…
Don’t worry, you can rebuild your confidence– and the GREAT news is that when you do, you can be STRONGER than you were before. Whoo hoo!
I know what it’s like. I really do. I was a professional dancer back in the day, so between the bits I injured back then, and the bits I’ve injured since (usually snowboarding related!), I’ve had my fair share of physical set-backs. Even when I’m working hard and feeling fit, I’ve had things go wrong- like going a bit nuts trying to do chin-ups and pulling my bicep… it SUCKS. And never mind the physical pain, the loss of momentum and feeling of time wasted are emotionally and mentally draining. For all my injuries from having beaten my body up so much in the past, I’m blessed that I rarely get sick. But losing 2 weeks out of my training to flu was ROUGH. And the hardest bit for me- just like for many of you- was the MENTAL feeling of what I’d lost. How weak I felt… what I *could* do two weeks ago that I was now struggling with… UGH! NO FUN!!
And that’s where the real work of recovery begins, because it’s not about the body- the body will regain its strength when we put the work in… it’s the rehab your mind has to do so you DON’T COMPARE where you are now with where you were…. to trust the process and know that in time, with effort and consistency, you will improve and get back towards your previous fitness… that’s where it’s won or lost- on whether you allow yourself to get despondent and give up, or whether, after the initial pity-party, you get up and keep working!! FOCUS not on where you ARE, but where you’re GOING!
We’re often good at talking about and working on the technical and physical aspects, but we’re often not so good at looking at our mental approach and how that could be strengthened- yet we’ve all watched sports where what’s made the difference has been who can hold it together on the big occasion!
Inspiring each other
I LOVE that you guys encourage each other and was so delighted to see Cheryl from USA coming onto my Facebook page specifically to report not only her own success but to ENCOURAGE others who’re coming back from injury and surgery. It’s incredible how much Cheryl has come on since she first was reporting her goals for herself and then she passed that wisdom on to others- including at least one English handler who came back to thank her for it 🙂 Isn’t that great? You guys are connecting and encouraging each other from across the globe! What a community we’re building of people who- at any time of the day or night- can find and BE encouragers! 😀
Beginning again takes guts and it takes effort.
Whether you’re coming back after a couple of weeks’ vacation or illness, OR you’ve been out injured for much longer, it can feel like wading through treacle at times, and can be thoroughly frustrating when your body isn’t doing something that you know it previously could do.
Hang in there. Sometimes you’re going to have to get cunning and strategic and develop new ways of doing things to allow for this new body you have- other times, you just need to hang in there and keep working. The main thing is that you not give up. When you quit, failure is guaranteed. When you decide to keep going, lots of exciting new possibilities open up to you!
Like with the flooded field above, sometimes all that you can do is give it time. (And keep a record of it, so you’ll remember how far you’ve come when you’re able to train again!)
So if you feel like you’re beginning again at the moment, this is a high-kicking cheerlead to you! You CAN rebuild your confidence and you can do so in ways that can ultimately make you stronger than you were before! So get doing your mental rehab and let me know how I can help you with it!
Come on over to Facebook and let me know what impacts you most in this article!
MAKE it a great week- I believe that you can!
It doesn’t happen by accident that a dog has awesome fast, accurate and reliable contacts.
It doesn’t happen in 5 minutes of training.
Getting them to know- and understand- their job, then transitioning to being able to DO their job takes time, effort and consistency.
Generalizing the behaviour takes practice and experience.
Then training them to be their absolute BEST at contacts takes further work…
Training your brain so you can give your best in competition is no different.
You don’t accidentally have a perfect competitive mindset, bomb-proof in any situation.
It doesn’t happen with 5 minutes of training, once, never to be practiced and repeated.
And excellence takes more TIME, EFFORT and CONSISTENCY than merely learning the nuts and bolts of what you ‘should’ do.
You wouldn’t go to a training weekend, teach your dog basics of contacts and think that was the end of the story. Worse yet, you wouldn’t go and WATCH a seminar and think you and your dog now were ready to compete at your best, without actually putting in the work yourself!! Psychological training is the same. Yes there are things you will need to learn, but more than that, you’re going to have to do the work.
And that’s good news, because it means that YOU can improve!!
So if your mental style in competition is like the doubtful pooch above…
Don’t feel bad that you need help with this side of your agility– that just means you’re NORMAL!
You wouldn’t hesitate to get training on technical details, and this is truly no different. YOU can learn how to do your best in competition and you will with T.E.C.- Time, Effort and Consistency!
Have a great day and COMMENT BELOW to let me know how I can help you!
Here’s some of the anonymised* feedback from the recent 7 Deadly Sins course:
“There are so many things this course has helped me with that it is hard to pinpoint just one. One of the biggest lessons I learned is that I can change my mindset and that will carry over into other aspects of my life outside of agility.”
100% would recommend it to a friend (some of you already have!)
100% rated it very or extremely worthwhile.
“The course helped me to take the steps towards what I wanted after delaying for so long. Every day I have woken up feeling energised and far more positive, wanting to get on with things rather than trying to put them off. A big change.”
Next up is Goal-Setting for Success and it launches March 1st- only 2 places remaining so register NOW!
*I ask for feedback anonymously because I want to hear if someone has anything negative to report. By not requiring their name, I believe it allows people to speak more honestly and feel less obligated to say nice things if they don’t mean them! I’m looking for honest feedback, not flattery! 🙂 So, I’m sorry you don’t have their names or countries this time, but if you check out the Testimonials page, you’ll find a few more there.
We all like to be comfort-able, right? A lot of us also want to improve… and to do that we’re going to have to go BEYOND what we’re ABLE to do in COMFORT and do things that will make us un-comfort-able, at least temporarily (or permanently if you’re committed to continually pushing yourself!)
That might sound like a bummer to you, but it’s actually good news- it’s the flip-side of what your brain naturally tries to do, which is to maintain homeostasis i.e. your current ‘normal’ comfort setting, ability and status quo. It’s one very good reason why you get the temptation to quit during workouts when it feels like you cannot possibly do one more rep. When you ignore that voice and keep going, you find that your body actually CAN do significantly more than your brain was comfortable with. Because your brain’s job is not to stretch you but to maintain the current status. It’s very good at that job, and that’s why going beyond what you are ABLE to do in COMFORT- what is ‘comfortable’ to you- takes mental, never mind physical effort.
There’s a saying that the very definition of madness is to do the same thing repeatedly and expect a different result- yet at times we’ve all done it!! But CHANGE and PROGRESS come when we push ourselves, BEYOND the comfort-able, when we let our biological brain have a bit of a huff and grumble, before getting to work adjusting us to our NEW normal! So let’s give our bodies a chance to show off by doing those extra reps… our brain will take the hint.
How about in a dog sport context? You’ll be inciting change when you take your handling from training to the competition ring in spite of that voice in your brain screaming ‘that’s not what we usually do!!!!’ or that little inner worry-wart saying ‘but what if you go wrong? It’s SAFER to do it our usual way…’ YOU can decide to doubt your doubts and explore what you’re ACTUALLY capable of, and you’lldo this when you get un-comfort-able.
Staying in your comfort zone is a sure-fire way to lose momentum. It WILL discourage you and it WILL corrode whatever self-esteem and confidence you possess. Because you’ll not be standing still- you’ll be falling behind. All the time that you’re lounging in your comfort zone, others are getting un-comfort-able.
And un-comfort-able means growing in skill and confidence.
So don’t miss out- get un-comfort-able! Come back to my Facebook page and tell me what stands out for you about this post!
Ready to take the next step in getting un-comfort-able? 2 Go for it!