A Gift

My (paid) Career was perfect for my personality. My domestic line of work, since the birth of Darling Daughter a couple of decades back, not so much.

I am very tenacious though and it gets me through as long as I believe in the value of the task at hand. So I've persevered despite the huge financial cost and absence of corporate profile but I've never gotten used to the absence of an annual performance evaluation.

Being told where to improve, how to do better etc. There really isn't a real world alternative for me after all  society clearly views what I do as unnecessary and Martha Stewart Magazine could only do so much!  Doing thankless work is tiresome enough but trying to constantly improve at it can be down right exhausting.

Knitting of course is great for this because the knitted piece tells the tale as to where my skills need improvement (current case in point - holes between fingers in gloves!) the FO list illustrates how far out of my comfort zone my projects are taking me. This blog makes me critically evaluate all of it so as to post about my process.

The dog is also a demonstrable barometer of how and where I should make improvements but I joined an Obedience Club to undertake obedience trials that will really hold me accountable. I get teachers telling me what to do and how to do it and judges scoring our trial performances.

Recently Hudson has been demonstrating explosive bouts of anxiety when we're in class. Some exercises prompt whining (him not me) followed by vertical leaping. (As a note of reference, standing on his hind legs, his head hits the 5'2" mark...the top of his vertical leaps take his head and shoulders well above mine.) And this trend seems to be getting worse.  The more seasoned members of the class reassure me this is just doggy adolescence but one veteran handler has quietly been more pointed about pinning our dwindling success on me. 

In the last couple of classes he's pointed out my expectations of Hudson are too low - I need to have more confidence in him. I need to man handle him via leash corrections less and rely on verbal commands more.  I need to "telegraph" less nervous energy through the leash (the fuel for his nervous leaping?). Also, wean off the food rewards that undoubtedly boost his blood sugar and so nervous energy. 

After hearing his comments last night I feel like I've been given a gift of greater self awareness. I approached our walk this morning with a refreshed point of view and new set of goals for my behaviour rather than that of my dog.

And for next week's class I plan to have a glass of wine before class - just to mellow me out a bit. (And if things go better maybe just wee glass afterwards as well - to celebrate!) Who says holding yourself to critical standards can't be fun?

And speaking of wine and fun, I'll be meeting up with my DCK pre-meeting pal tonight for a quick dinner and associated beverage of choice. Sally Melville is the speaker...if you're in town and can, you should go!

Thanks for dropping by!


Stephanie said...

If it were me I would also appreciate people pointing out where I can do better, so I can relate. Hope the suggestions go well for you!

LaurieM said...

It takes time to become confident in yourself and your dog. It has happened to me, but so gradually.

People were complimenting me on how well behaved Dexter is, and I was like, "What? This dog?" then I realized, yes, he is well-behaved now. I need to stop thinking of him bad.

Brendaknits said...

I used to hate the performance reviews. They reminded me of an elementary school report card and I always felt belittles by them. Could have been my performance of course.