No matter how I tell Jedi’s story, some people feel the need to tell me, I am at fault for Jedi’s reactivity. How does searching for fault provide value to me? This leaves me scratching my head, could it be human nature of sorts, albeit unintended. I challenge those people to change their perspective for just a moment.
If something goes wrong at work, which path is best? Should there be a meeting to find out who we should blame, who we should make feel like crap, who we should look to first if anything else ever goes wrong and talk about behind their back. Or maybe there should there be a meeting where we identify how the error occurred and brainstorm together to find solutions. Put procedures in place to prevent them from happening in the future and feel like we all accomplished something.
I personally experience both paths on a daily basis. I write application software for a financial division. Hundreds of millions dollars passed through one of my applications last year. When someone comes to me saying they made a mistake, it is generally followed by some sort of hyperventilating, lip biting or fidgeting.
The first thing I do is tell people to breathe, then I talk us through it. We decide what needs to be done immediately and get to our tasks. After we remedy the issue, we go through the process. We brainstorm to see if there are areas where we could improve. Are there ways for us to prevent the error? Next, we implement the solutions. Some of the best solutions come from what people think are silly questions. I want to create good relationships. I want people to feel they can seek me out to ask questions and find solutions, I never belittle them.
One particular women had a string of circumstances, where she was repeatedly chastised for making mistakes. Some as simple as typos, not in the dollar amounts. Some of these errors caused the payments to be delayed by a day. Many times she would be out of the office the next day. She would tear up telling me her experience when she returned. It shut her down, management caused her distress and to miss a day of work.
She is a kind, witty and a hard worker. It was rather sad watching her deteriorate. Lose faith in herself. She ceased coming forward with solutions. She avoided her accusers, stopped seeking their advice, become more recluse. Less trusting, unmotivated. Trying to place blame, can have unexpected consequences.
What happens, if we must place blame, for an oversight or a simple mistake? The possible results, beings could become overtaken by fear. They will make more mistakes; they may get to the point where their brains flood, while they try to figure out if it is the right way. They will be occupied with self-doubt, always wondering if they are making another mistake. Their minds will be filled with anxiety. Eventually, they may shut down and stop trying. I know this first hand, confrontation has always been a weak spot for me. Sending my head spinning, even shutting me down.
All minds comprehend differently, but there is one sure thing. The more people are put down, the less apt they will be to try again. YOU can have a direct hand in changing someone’s future.
If the intent is trying to be a problem solver and these types of thoughts come to mind. What is wrong with Jedi? Oh it is his owner’s fault. Try to offer advice, leaving out opinions. Ponder this, can I offer anything positive that is productive?
I make mistakes in my trial and error of this thing we call life, figuring out what is best for me. I have been guilty of letting past experiences influence new opportunities. Jedi is a fearful, over-excitable, serious kind of guy, who will fly off the handle so fast there is just no way to catch him. He does not forgive or let things go on a whim. He is not an easy dog.
Kiska on the other hand, is fun loving, doesn’t take anything to serious, very confident girl. She has been attacked numerous times. She is a therapy dog. She plays so respectfully with other dogs, people ask to socialize their puppy with her! When challenged over things like a bowl of water, she walks away. An ambassadress of ambassadresses. She is an easy dog.
They have a personality, amplified by experiences. They are not what I made them. Many great trainers, became great trainers, because they had a difficult dog and learned from their experiences. We can thank the stars above, that they didn’t stop.
As a puppy, Jedi would bark at 5am at anything that moved. Living in a busy suburb, things like this could get us into trouble. I started to over-react to situations, never giving Jedi an opportunity to respond his way. As he matured he hasn’t had enough opportunity to have good outcomes and gain confidence in his decision making skills.
Live and learn! Take each opportunity as it were a new experience. I saw some success today. Jedi saw dump trucks, steamrollers and workers at the end of our driveway. I calmly let him decide how he would respond. I let him watch from a safe distance. I gave the commotion none of my attention. Kept walking in my zen world, we walked towards the chaotic event and then turned down our regular path. He didn’t look to me guidance once. He didn’t ask me a single question. He didn’t bat an eye and came with me. It worked, I am rolling with that.
I have a friend, whose child was thought to be autistic, not fully diagnosed at this point. She can not speak or communicate her needs at four years old. Her daughter would get very frustrated. No one understands her simple needs, such needing a drink of water? Her daughter would vent her frustrations, by screaming, crying and running.
When I was with her and her daughter had meltdowns, I would see people’s faces that witnessed these events. Staring, crunch their faces, shake their heads, roll their eyes, gather their children and move away. OH, HOW I KNOW THOSE LOOKS! Seemingly horrified, by her daughters actions. Maybe we don’t know the whole story. Her daughter simply doesn’t understand how to productively communicate her frustrations.
Jedi’s reactions are of similar consequence. He hasn’t learned a productive way to express himself when he sees something of concern. What he did learn, is his barking lunging behavior, moves dogs away from him. In his mind, that is what works. We will keep trying, no matter how most people’s reactions make us feel. Saying Jedi is a mean, evil dog, doesn’t help. Telling me it is my fault, doesn’t help us move forward. It fuels our anxiety and this makes it harder on us next time.
This has been no small feat for me, getting over the looks, being chastised, the passive aggressive audible whispers, hearing mean, mean opinions. They were not productive. I believe this is why it has taken us so long, to finally find our place. This long, to feel like we also belong in this world.
I choose to ignore the looks and words that hurt. I instead focus on what I can do. I can ask people to recognize how they are making me feel. I won’t stop trying, but others may have given up by now. They may have been shutdown and stopped trying. They are the ones who need us most!
I believe people have hopes and dreams for their pets, children or their lives. Things don’t always go the way we plan. Sometimes we must alter perspectives. We must change our perception of life, to find our own ultimate happiness. We must try and try again. Don’t make it more difficult for the next person to get up and try again.
Think of past mistakes. WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES! It is how we learn. Treat others the way anyone would hope to be treated, if a mistake was made. How do we become a better people, community and society? Instead of looking for the blame, can we start adding solutions. No one is perfect, listen and learn from mistakes. Educate when possible, let’s open our minds and listen. We will progress faster, especially if we try to build good relationships.
An often-overlooked aspect in a relationship is alliance. This is created when we have mutual respect for each other. Willing to put their own needs aside and chose to do what is best for the team. Of course, I am still the team leader with Jedi. I do not focus on the outer lying issues or the drama. I search for the heart of the matter. I create fair parameters in which we function. There has to be order or there is only chaos. I respect the fact that we are all creatures who deserve to be on this earth. I try to respect people’s needs. I know if I do not, I create division.
In my dog training class, we end each session with the teams running through a course. I have the whole group clap for each team as they finish. It is a very interesting thing, how this has changed my classes. It created camaraderie, smiles and laughter. It releases the tension for everyone. If a team is struggling during the course, I cheer-lead. I point out the good things they are doing and my cheering gets the rest of the class cheering for them as well. I want them to know, their attempts are valiant. Somehow, my class picks up on this and they will offer cheering in future classes without my prompting.
Sometimes a team gets more clapping or cheering when they are done. This creates a little competition. I think it makes people train harder during the week. In the end they know it is all in fun, because I make sure it is a safe environment for them to learn. Students will offer their own experiences for others to benefit from. They are bringing each other up. I see in the student’s eyes, that they believe they can do it. Having someone believe in YOU is a powerful thing.
I am getting more regulars now. My words cannot describe what an amazing thing it is to be a part of. My heart smiles to the core! This is a team, an alliance, they are building relationships and it is awesome!
Can I ask, please, please try to understand, I do my best for Jedi. How he responds is his choice. I cannot stop him from feeling anxious or fearful. Please don’t add to my anxiety, by making me feel I am doing something wrong.
I do my best not add to his stress, allowing him to experience situations where he reaches his max. For then his only choice is to react. I will keep him safe. I hold his trust in me in the highest regard. I will remain his pillar of solid strength and calm. I do demand his respect and he gets mine. I will always try to create an environment, where he gets to trial and error his choices, but will not be harmed by his decision. Allowing him to build his own individual confidence, that I hope will help change his perspective.
I challenge society to stop being critical of people’s decisions or tearing them down. If some advice can be offered without judgment, this helps us learn. If advice can help educate in a respectful manner, excellent. Nothing nice to nice to say, don’t say anything. Believe it or not, that is helpful.
We have a choice. I challenge everyone to build people up, with kind words and encouragement. I challenge everyone to root for others! We can all win. Watch for chances. Let’s change the world!