We often think about success as external. We’ve done this, so we get that. But what internal work happens on the way to achieving a successful partnership?
Your mindset can be a powerful guide on the path to a happy lifestyle with your dog. But there are many factors that influence how you think, feel, and respond in any given situation that can affect your mindset. Your past experiences, expectations, goals, self-image, and more, can impact how you interact with your dog – even if you’re not aware of it.
Most of the time all of this happens on the unconscious level. However, in order for you to be a brilliant partner for your dog, you may want to think about how you can be more self-aware, so that you can make conscious, intentional choices.
Our mental states are influenced greatly by our mental programming. Your belief system, habits, and cultural conditioning all affect your feelings which in turn impact your responses. So, becoming a better version of yourself starts with looking inward.
I truly believe that we have everything that we need to be brilliant already inside of us. But there are some things that can help us along the way. So, in this post, I’m sharing some of my favorite mindset hacks to accelerate your journey to a brilliant partnership with your dog.
“Optimism is a skill that can be learned”
- Learn how to live life like your dog
Now, what I really mean by this is to see life through an optimistic lens. Your dog doesn’t wake up in the morning feeling anxious about the day ahead. They’re great role models for living in the moment and embracing optimism.
When we have an optimistic outlook, everything gets better. Optimistic people are typically healthier, happier, and more productive. They even catch fewer colds! In fact, studies have shown that optimism can help you live longer.
While a positive mindset comes naturally to some of us, it’s not instantly accessible for everyone. But the good news is, you can actually teach yourself to be a more optimistic person. Here are my three ways you can cultivate a more optimistic outlook.
Know that you’re perfect just the way you are
You, your dog, and your partnership are perfect exactly as they are. I often see people getting caught up in comparison and judgment. But this isn’t healthy. Know that you’re perfect as you are, and you’re constantly growing and developing into a wiser, stronger, and more brilliant version of yourselves.
Accept and expect ups and downs
Even the most optimistic people still face bad days. They’re inevitable! The reality of life is like an ocean wave crashing up and down. It’s just part of life’s natural process. When we make peace with the downs, we can really capitalize on the ups.
Look for any and all available options
An optimistic outlook helps us see the potential in our choices even if there is a limited supply. A positive approach means we’re more likely to see the bigger picture and visualize what’s possible. When we do this, we’re automatically opening up more doorways for ourselves rather than closing them.
So, these are the three ways I tap into my optimistic mindset. Give them a go and let me know if they make optimism more accessible for you! Now, this last point brings me nicely onto my next mindset hack…
- Tap into your brain’s full power
Once you’ve cultivated that positive mindset, you want to put it to good use. Your imagination is so amazing for helping you picture the outcomes of your greatest desires. However, we often spend a lot of our time visualizing what might go wrong instead. I want you to flip this on its head and use your imagination from an optimistic perspective.
When you create a vivid picture in your mind, you’re programming your brain to believe you’re capable of achieving that thing. This makes it much more likely that you’ll behave this way in the future!
Whether you know it or not, you have an opinion about what you and your dog can or cannot do. No matter how accurate they are, these beliefs become the story we tell ourselves and affect our ability to change our behaviors.
“Whether you know it or not, you have an opinion about what you and your dog can and cannot do”
How to use visualization in your brilliant partnership
You might say something like, “I always get frustrated because my dog doesn’t listen in this particular circumstance.” This creates a negative pre-set that, if you hold on to, can be really difficult to change.
But, what’s amazing is, your mind doesn’t know the difference between a “real experience” or an imagined experience. So, you can intentionally imprint into your mind what you’re capable of by envisioning what you want to be. This is a great way of tapping into the power of your mind and strengthening your belief in yourself and your partnership.
Now, I want you to think about that frustration you have within your partnership, for example, “I always get frustrated because my dog doesn’t listen in this particular circumstance”. But this time, imagine yourself as fluid partners.
In your visualization, you’re calm, focused, and enjoying every moment with your dog. You could say to yourself, “My dog and I are becoming excellent at listening to one another in this circumstance.” The trick is to keep running this movie in your mind so that when you’re faced with the real-life scenario, your brain will focus on the partnership-building moments.
This leads me to my next point. I want you to think about how you’re approaching these scenarios and your reaction to them…
- Manage your participation in life’s experiences
Sometimes life will throw you a curveball. I talked earlier about embracing those ups and downs, and it’s important to accept that things won’t always go as you’d hoped. We might not have the answers to why your dog does what they do or even why we do what we do!
It’s possible for you to be completely prepared for all kinds of experiences, follow the safe, calm and happy protocol, employ the 95% rule, and still face unexpected challenges. We just can’t control all aspects of life.
In this case, the best course of action is to stay connected with your plans, protocols, and processes. No matter what happens, remaining focused and connected will help you have more control and awareness over your response. Arguably, your response is more important than the situation itself.
What to do when things don’t go to plan
I want you to imagine a situation that you have prepared for, visualized, and have high hopes for. Let’s take winning a podium award for your favorite dog sport as an example.
You’ve trained, conditioned, coached, practiced, and done everything to prepare for the big event. In your visualization, you and your dog win the gold medal. But, in reality, you win fifth place. Now, this is still such a fantastic accomplishment, however, it doesn’t align with your expectation.
You have a choice to either feel sorry for yourself or see an opportunity for growth. This experience could give you the motivation to learn and become even better than you are right now – which may not have happened if you’d received the gold medal!
I think this example shows how much there is to gain in a situation like this. Say you had won that gold medal; would you have been satisfied and stopped learning? In that case, you may not continue striving for more and could be leaving part of your potential completely untapped.
Of course, it’s a challenge to get into this mindset when the world measures us by our accomplishments. That’s why I want you to think about this final idea.
- Measure success with attainment, not just accomplishment
It’s easy to measure your success by external achievements. That’s how we’ve all been culturally conditioned to see it. But there’s another measurement that’s crucial to our success, called “becoming.”
“Becoming” is how we measure the internal development that happens. It’s much more difficult to measure and is sometimes completely neglected. But “becoming” is the measure of your character and your growth as a human being.
When you can say what you’ve become as a result of your work, that’s when you get a balanced blend of internal and external success or a combination of both attainment and accomplishment. “Becoming” is when you’re able to say things like:
- I’ve become a better partner for my dog
- I’m more understanding of my dog’s experiences
- I feel more compassionate and more patient with my dog
- I am now able to see my dog is perfect, even as they grow into a better version of themselves
This is what brilliant partners strive for – seeking and reaching this balance and becoming the human that experiences a growing and brilliant partnership with their dog. This is what I want for you.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on these lifestyle principles and mindset hacks, so do leave a comment to tell me how these have impacted you!
If you’d like to work with me and learn how to create a partnership lifestyle for you and your dog, you can request an invitation to join us in the Brilliant Partners Academy when the doors open for the next enrollment!
You can listen to everything I talked about in this blog post over on my podcast – Enlightened By Dogs. It’s episode 155, which you can listen to here.