HELLO 2020!

I don’t know about you, but I am so excited for this year!  I feel a strong a buzz in the air, a vibe of positive energy and optimism.  To me, twenty twenty symbolizes something special… hindsight and vision.

“Hindsight is 20/20”.  Hindsight means “thinking about things after they’ve happened”, and 20/20 refers to “perfect vision”.  I’m choosing to look at each of these things separately…

Hindsight.  I think it’s important to reflect on where we’ve come, what got us to where we are, and above all else, to celebrate the journey…. all of it… the mistakes, the lessons, the achievements, and the successes.  It’s all part of who we are.

Tracie with Niko, 2005

clevercanines is celebrating its 15th year in business.  A significant achievement; one that I am mighty proud of.  When I look back at the choices I made that led me to where I am today, I’m amazed.  One simple past decision, not could have, but would have, taken me in an entirely different direction.  To think about that seems bewildering…. What would I be doing if I wasn’t a business owner of a dog daycare and training centre?  Who would my friends be?  Where would I be living?  What would my house look like?  Would I even have Presley…?!

Wherever we are in life, we are each here because of decisions we made along the way, risks that we have taken, things we said no to, things we said yes to….  With the idea of ‘hindsight’ in mind, I think it’s time to acknowledge that journey, to be kind to ourselves, and give ourselves a heartfelt congratulations for being strong, having courage, making decisions – especially tough ones, and simply for continuing to put one foot in front of the other, day after day.

It’s easy to ‘get on with it’ and skip over the hindsight.  In the words of someone who deeply inspires me, Oprah Winfrey, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”  Each of us have small wins everyday, although seldom do we pause to celebrate.  These little wins can be as simple as having a good hair day, arriving on time for a meeting, having your dog ignore a distraction, and some days, just getting out of bed.  Life can get tough some times, but taking the time to celebrate and acknowledge even the smallest of wins will create confidence and momentum needed to keep going.  Small wins add up, and when we look back… that ‘hindsight’ I’m talking about… will provide the fulfillment that comes from making progress on meaningful goals.

Tracie with Presley,  2020

Let’s practice this for a moment…  Think back to how much your dog has grown and developed over the time you’ve been together.  Now it’s time to acknowledge that it was YOU who has put in the time and energy to help shape the dog you want to have.  You still may not have reached “Lassie status”, but you and your dog have grown leaps and bounds in one way or another…. and that should be celebrated.  So hey you… Way to go!  Great job! 

So what has your journey been?  What can you celebrate?  Be proud of who you are and what you have accomplished, even if it’s not yet ‘complete’.  There is enjoyment in the journey… allow yourself to feel it.

Vision.  Now that we’ve recognized where we’ve come from, it’s time to set our compass in the direction we wish to go.  Vision is the act or power which gives a direction to our life to make our goals and dreams a reality. It is important to have vision and purpose because it helps make our decisions that create our lifestyle.  

It’s easy to wake up, do life, then go back to bed, without thinking about how that day has or will contribute to our vision.  But everything we do moves us forward.  We don’t get that hour back, that day back, that week back… so how can we wake up, think about where we want to go, who we want to be, what we want to have, and set an intention to take one step… just one little step that would move the needle in that direction.  The day is going to go by no matter what, so why not choose to be more conscious about how it plays out?

I worked with a life coach for a couple years, Stacey Berger, and one phrase that she repeats often that really sticks with me is:  Will you live your life by default or by design?  In other words, will your life just “happen”, or will you have a goal and find a way to move the needle towards that vision.

Imagine walking up and thinking about your intention for the day before your feet hit the ground.  I aim to do this every morning, and every time I have a different word or image pop in to my head.  The word often surprises me, as I just select the first thing that comes to mind.  Sometimes I think about being focused, or listening deeper, being productive, finding ways to say thank you, … and some days it’s just to smile.  As I go through my day, I remind myself of this word many times.  I like to write it down, and then at the end of the day, I reflect on what I did that served that word or idea, and then acknowledge the win.

Stacey Berger coaches us to start with one question… “What would I love?”  What would I love my life to look like one year from now?  Three years from now?  What would I love the relationships I have to be like?  What would I love my company to accomplish?  What would I love to do with my dog?  What would I love to be, do, and have?

When we ask ourselves ‘what would I love’, it opens the door for creativity and openness, which allows for possibilities.  And this is what creates our vision.  “They” say anything is possible because it is!!  It really, really is!  However you answer the question of what would you love, the second question is, “What’s one step you could take today that would get you closer to that.”  Sometimes it’s making a phone call, asking someone a question, researching something on Google, giving yourself a quiet space for 10 minutes, or jotting down ideas in a notebook.  If everyday you took one little step towards some part of your vision, imagine what your hindsight would be like in one year from now!

So, for practice, what would you love your relationship with your dog to be like?  What would you love to do with your dog?  Then think of one thing you could do today, or this week, that would help move you in that direction.  Then take action!  DO that one thing!  Your dog will thank you, your family may thank you, and you definitely can thank you.

As I reflect on my past 15 years in business, I think of all the ups and downs I’ve gone through.  They ain’t kidding when they say small businesses are built on blood, sweat, and tears…. all three of those things have definitely been part of my journey.  I have learned so many lessons.. many the hard way.  I have made mistakes and poor decisions that I’ve regretted, and I have admittedly thought about throwing in the towel on numerous occasions when things got tough.

But I kept going.  One foot in front of the other.  Some days one step was all I could make.  But it was a step.  And today, I celebrate that.  I celebrate the strength, courage, confidence, and optimism that I found to continue my journey.

But that’s only one part of my journey.

clevercanines has also provided me the most meaningful work I have ever done.  I have met the most amazing people, with incredible stories.  I have had the opportunity to fall in love with thousands of amazing dogs, who also have incredible stories.  I have witnessed relationships expand, the impossible becoming possible, and joyful smiles so monumental they inspire me for days.  I have surrounded myself with caring supportive people, from friends, staff, and clients, who offer encouragement and keep my spirits soaring.  I have experienced kindness, generosity, and opportunity that I would never have guessed existed.  I continue to learn and expand through ongoing education and business peer groups.  I’ve discovered my superpower is seeing tiny details that when put together create something substantial.  And for this, I celebrate the accomplishments, successes, friendships, experiences, and history that I am a part of.

I simply cannot express the deep gratitude I feel when I look back.  Thank you twenty twenty for reminding me to look back in hindsight.  And thank you twenty twenty for reminding me how important vision is.

Hello 2020… I’m ready for you.