Last week, I was on a long walk with our small family dog, Sparky, after a dinner. Not sure who needed the exercise more. Although it was a well-worn path for both of us, this particular walk taught me a lesson about my dog and about me.
Sparky is a smart Maltipoo, but he is not a particularly well-trained dog. That’s a direct result of having a poorly trained owner. We have to be careful about leaving doors and gates open or Sparky will run like the wind.
This walk started off like business as usual (if you know what I mean). Sparky decided to continue his sniffing in one spot longer than I preferred, and I gave the leash a gentle tug. As I discovered later, Sparky’s dog collar had been loosened just one notch while he was at the vet’s office the day before. So this time, his little head popped right out of the leash and he was free to roam, run, skedaddle or well, run like the wind!
He sat there looking up at me, seemingly trapped. In reality he was as free as he had ever been. It was like a smorgasbord of all the smells and critters he could sniff and chase... like a Vegas buffet for dogs! But Sparky stood still, paralyzed by the unknown of this freedom. I reaffixed his dog collar, allowing him to assume his normal comfort zone.
Hmmm, I thought. How many times have I stayed within my own self-imposed boundaries? Probably more often than I’d like to admit. How about you?
We often condition ourselves to live and work in a smaller world because of our own limiting thoughts, but we typically have more control and freedom than we think.
To realize our potential, we must re-condition our thinking to stretch beyond our comfort zone. Remember, growth and learning occur when we are uncomfortable. So, take off your "mental dog collar" and explore new limits!
by Lee J. Colan