This past weekend we went to a local event called Bark in the Park, here in Erie, CO. We attended it last year, too. The idea is to get lots of dogs and dog people together and showcase some of the local pet companies, including the local humane society, and then have the dogs perform.
When I say "perform" I mean just that - there's the treat toss, the frisbee throw, the scent dogs of the Rockies, and more. Fun, frolic and more.
During the Frisbee toss, or throw, I can't rightly remember which it was - one Golden Retriever stood out among all the other dogs competing. He hit his mark (the Frisbee thrown far and high) every time. As I was watching this incredible dog do his thing, and watching his owner gleefully throw that Frisbee higher and farther, I realized that this is how business should be conducted.
Those two did not get that good by practicing the day before the event. That dog was so eager to please, and so proud when he accomplished his amazing feat of atheletic ability (like the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge dogs here), you had to admire not only his atheleticism, but his determination. And, you had to wonder, "how many hours did he and his master train, for this little, local event?"
I'm betting they trained for hundreds of hours. I'm betting they trained evenings and weekends, in the backyard and at the park. I'm betting they wanted to WIN...not merely PLACE...and they knew they had to work hard for that.
A pretty well-known phrase in the sports world, well, it's actually a book by Lance Armstrong, is "It's Not About the Bike." Last weekend, watching all the dogs at Bark in the Park, and especially watching this Golden perform, that phrase, 'not about the bike' really meant something to me.
When you're at your wit's end, or so tired you can't keep your head up; when you are seriously doubting your 'great idea' or wondering why everything that can go wrong, is going wrong; when you're ready to give up because your computer is too slow, or your chair is too low, or your head hurts or your air conditioning is on the fritz - stop, pause, get a cool drink and remind yourself, "It's not about the bike."
It's about that Golden - never giving up, chasing that Frisbee as if the rest of the world did not exist. It's about the goal and the feel of that plastic in his teeth and not letting anything, how high it is, or how far it's thrown, get in the way. It's about enduring the failures to learn how to begin again and move forward...until that dance you're doing, that jig that you've been doing around your kitchen table, begins to fall into place and mean something. And then, when you're at that place where the Frisbee is just out of reach, just an inch above your head, even though you've jumped as high as you possibly can, push yourself a little bit harder, and catch that Frisbee.
Then, when the crowd applauds, be like that Golden, don't turn for a bow or even acknowledge the cheers, just get back where you started, and do it again. The accolades and applause and speeches will come later, when you've caught enough Frisbees to start training the next Golden or Springer Spaniel, or Greyhound (or entrepreneur).
That's when you accept the applause (humbly) because then...you can say you did it. And you can help someone else do it. Because becoming incredible is just the beginning.