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Would You Put Your Hand Up?

Posted on 10/26/10 39 Comments

Away at a business conference Β (which I wrote about in my newsletter yesterday — I hope you got yours) I ended up volunteering to stand up on stage in front of 500 participants. Thinking about me throwing my hat in the ring to get up on stage I realize how events like that can be revealing for people. Β Is that something many of you would do? Any of you that know me, know I am not afraid to be on stage, quite the opposite, I am very comfortable in front of any size crowd. But what about you? Would you rather be one of the crowd or put yourself out there? For me my outgoing nature has not always been the norm.

I remember as a wee girl hiding behind my mothers legs not wanting to talk to relatives at family reunions. Of course that phase in my life was past very early on but how did I go from one extreme to the next? I think it is why we move forward with anything in our life. Practice is the answer. Rehearsals of success.

Believe it or not, something like this is a big part of improving your mental prep for sport, it contributes to calming the butterflies before you step into the ring. It is true. Every time you put yourself in a position you may currently find uncomfortable, you are actually reducing the discomfort for yourself the next time around. The more you do things you might otherwise be “embarrassed” by you learn not to be afraid of what may happen if . . . You start to dissolve that fear of the unknown, the fear of failing.

Now that we are getting into the “off season” of agility for many of us, it is a time to look at fine tuning our skills. Traditionally, you may be using this time just to work on your dogs skills but it may be time to turn your magnify glass on your own weaknesses, things that you can do to improve yourself for your dog.

Today I am grateful for new friends, what a great group of people I got to hang with over the past three days.


  1. Jinger Guinn says:
    Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 10:39am

    I tend not to be that out going pretty shy when speaking in front of a class but I manage to teach a little agility foundation anyway.

    When I’m a student I consider myself a sponge. We had a seminar with a trainer from Santa Fe NM and he’s great. We were discussing how to do a certain part of the course and we were all walking it the same way so he came back and showed us how doing a wrap around this one jump made a more straight line for the dogs to get over the next 2 jumps and into the weaves. When I visually saw this line my light blub went of and in a bright way LOL Well I’m the only 12″ dog in the class and we were last so I sat and watched how everyone else and I mean everyone else have great difficulty doing these 3 jumps to the weaves so I thought I’m trying the wrap and man o man that is definitely something I’ll be looking for on courses when I’m showing. When I walk into a class I’m there to obsorbe everything I can to make me a better handler. After this class I’ve finally figured out my timing of turns and after 3 years of training this girl if finally felt as though we were coming together as a team and wow what a wonderful feeling! If you going to a class or seminar get your thinking brain on and keep it there, open your mind to change if it works!


  2. afriedel says:
    Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 8:49pm

    no newsletter no recallers update πŸ™


    • Susan says:
      Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 9:18am

      @afriedel I would try to re-subscribe. It if tells you you are already signed up then check your spam folder or contact your internet provider and ask them to allow our newsletter email addresses: [email protected] and [email protected]


  3. seamstjr says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 8:43pm

    I really enjoyed this article today. Another great life lesson. I have always been very shy and for some strange reason I decide to become a teacher. Of course being shy really doesn’t work with a room full of 5th graders(talk about being out of your comfort zone) As a means of survival I had to quickly learn to come out of my shell. The more risks I took the better the students learned. In fact watching me fail and letting them come up with possible solutions is a wonderful strategy to show children how to work through tough problems and to teach there are many way to solve them. One reason I have taken on the challenge of learnig this dog sport is that it is new and exciting to learn. I am way out of my comfort zone everytime I go to class trying desperatly to learn a simple front cross. What fun and who knows maybe I will learn to dance the jig before it is all over.


  4. Darcy says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 7:30pm

    I HATE to fail, be wrong, or be noticed in a crowd. I love to just blend in as much as possible but I know by doing that I am missing out on so much. My trick is to realize that shyness is a completely selfish emotion. Being shy means it is all about YOU! What people think about YOU, what someone might say about YOU, etc. Although socially acceptable to call yourself “shy” it is a very negative thing to think of being selfish. So when I catch myself hiding I remind myself not to be selfish and get out there and DANCE!!


  5. AlisonM says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 5:14pm

    Got the newsletter!

    Hey Susan, did you look anything like this while playing the Wii:




  6. Dianne says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 3:14pm

    I got the newsletter! Guess I am lucky. I would have been up on that stage. I have found that it is a bit scary but always been worth it to take that step, raise my hand, be the volunteer.

    I used to be shy (the skinny little kid with the very very thick glasses). Just getting along day to day was hard. In school we started to get the option to write a report or give it in front of the class. I was so dyslexic writing was a nightmare but I could talk. So I would practice for hours in front of the mirror in my parents bedroom and it worked! The more I did the easier it got.

    Getting out of the comfort zone once, not so bad, I lived, I learned, and I had fun. The more I tried the more fun I had. The more I learned, the more people I meet, the more stuff I tried, and the more fun!

    My puppy is still working on all the basics and we are build a great bond. I love her recall!


  7. Janice Crain says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 1:36pm

    The email must be slow coming to Texas as I have not yet received the newsletter πŸ™


  8. Theresa says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 1:08pm

    I totally identify with your story growing up.
    My newsletter came this morning.


  9. Gale says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 12:00pm

    I read your newsletter, and I am going to send it to Dancing with the Stars for next year! LOL


  10. S. Weaver says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 11:55am

    The newsletter was in my email box this morning. I did not look to see when it was sent — it may not have hit until this a.m.

    If I’m not mistaken, Susan also has a sign up for her newsletter on her web page at Say Yes Dog Training.


  11. Kathy says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 10:47am

    I would have gone on stage. I am totally comfortable doing things that make me uncomfortable. It comes from having grown a tremendous amount from what I thought at the time were “failures” . I realized that growth happens from discomfort.


  12. John shupe says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 10:13am

    Your passion for what you do is an inspiration to many. Any doughts or fears , setbacks will make you stronger.


  13. Blaze says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 9:38am


    I was once just that shy as well. Now I regularly travel and deliver training for groups of 50+ people, and routinely demonstrate my skills in front of audiences of 500-1000+. And I occasionally make mistakes and it’s no big deal as that just proves I’m human.

    If your goal was to run 10 km (6 miles) and you could only run 100 metres/yards, you’d get a coach and a plan and build it up slowly and patiently. Just as Susan is a coach and resource for learning dog training, there are resources for learning almost any other life skill that is important to us.



  14. LINDA BLACK says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 9:32am

    No newletter here either….lets see I’m the one who took a online speech college course, so I’m pretty darn sure I’m not volunteering to step in front of 500 people. I’ve also been nervous in obedience, but I find in agility I have too much other stuff to worry about and have never been nervous…of course it has never been a “big” event either…YET!!


  15. Vicki says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 9:21am

    nope no newsletter here either


  16. Karen says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 9:13am

    I didn’t get a newsletter either.

    Did anyone get a newsletter? All I’m seeing are “no newsletter” comments.


  17. Tina says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 9:04am

    Nope, no newsletter πŸ™


  18. MicheleA says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 9:02am

    I think you blew my theory out of the water, I always felt that once shy, always shy..I could not even give book reports in school (many yrs. ago) we only had about 20 students in a class….I would NEVER raise my hand to volunteer for anything, even today I will not do that, totally out of my comfort zone., and as far as getting up in front of anyone that is totally out of the question…I am even uncomfortable if I have to say my name at a small size seminar (10 people) or say something about my dogs or myself….I am a very outgoing, friendly person when I am with 2-3 people but anymore than that and I tend to hang back.
    I used to get very sick before an agility show, but once I started concentrating on only my dog I was able to block everyone out, but its still in the back of my mind that I am going to make a fool out of myself….
    I would love to learn how to turn this around, I have always felt I have alot to offer but my hand is glued to my side.


    • Sophie says:
      Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 1:44pm

      Try something that is not too important in your life first. If you goof it up, no biggy.
      Some places that “Toast Masters” or groups like that that make you practice your presentation / speaking skills. Since it would not count towards you regular job and hobbies, it is a good practice place.
      I had to ‘get over it’ and now I do what is needed to be done, butterflies or not.


  19. Judith Batchelor says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 8:32am

    I didn’t get the newsletter either-

    We often forget that we are the other half of the dog/human partnership. If we expect to do well at whatever level, we must also prepare ourselves.


  20. Elsina says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 8:18am

    No newsletter either. Haven’t had one for a while.


  21. Marsha says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 8:09am

    Hmmmm…. same here – no newsletter and I normally get them just fine.


  22. Beverley Reda says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 7:47am

    Hi Susan!

    I got a Recallers update last week but no newsletter this week.



  23. denise says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 7:26am

    I didn’t get the newsletter or the recallers update πŸ™

    I most definitely would NOT have volunteered to go up on stage! I hate public speaking and being in front of that many people would be frightening. Intellectually I know it’s dumb, no one will laugh at me, nothing horrible will happen…. but I’m afraid intellect alone can’t get me past it.


  24. Nancy Bell says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 7:09am

    Me too.. just got the recallers update and not the newsletter!


  25. Shelley says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 6:25am

    I didn’t receive the newsletter either, just the recallers update

    How do we get the newsletter?


  26. Trudie says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 5:05am

    There was a phrase you used about agility “it’s a game I play with my dog and it ends when the run is over”. Bearing this phrase in mind has dramatically helped to improve myself with my dog.
    I came across this phrase while reading your post after the FCI.
    What enabled it to take on significance was having taken the recallers course, where every day is game day and the fundamentals of great mutual confidence are built.
    Wow, to my surprise, this carries over in every agility trial.


  27. Charlotte Rundgren says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 4:53am

    Hi Susan,

    I’ve not received your newsletter, but have received an update for Recallers.



    • Beverley Reda says:
      Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 7:50am

      Hi Charlotte!

      How did you change your icon picture to your lovely BC? I have poked a bit in my Recallers profile but haven’t quite figured out how to do it ~ and don’t want to risk messing anything up!

      Thanks for your help!



      • Charlotte Rundgren says:
        Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 2:29pm

        Hi Beverley,

        Somewhere in the recallers comments somebody else asked the same thing and full instructions were given in reply. I’ve had a quick look to see if I can find it but so far no luck. Of course I have totally forgotten how I managed to set it up!!! I will look again later and let you know if I come across it.


      • kathi says:
        Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 5:54pm

        Go to http://gravatar.com/ and click on the “Get your Gravatar today” button. Use the same email address you used to register to this site. You’ll then be prompted to upload the photo or graphic you want to use as your gravatar. The gravatar you pick will be associated with that email address and will show up here (and on many other forums and WordPress blogs) when you register or comment using that email address. Hope this helps!

      • Charlotte Rundgren says:
        Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 8:22pm

        Thanks Kathi. I’ve saved the instructions this time LOL!

      • Beverley Reda says:
        Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 10:34pm

        Thanks for your help Charlotte and Kathi! I have saved the instructions you provided.

  28. Blaze says:
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 3:46am

    How do we sign up for your newsletter?


    • Susan says:
      Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 10:15am

      Okay guys, my bad. When I went to investigate why all of you had not received your newsletter yesterday, it turns out I had not hit the “Send” button:) Sorry about that. If you have not signed up for the newsletter there is a form on the right hand side of this blog.

      I recognized I have not sent out a newsletter for the last couple of months and I am going to change that. Will be rewarding those who are members with some cool content delivered only through the newsletter over the new couple of months.


      • J May says:
        Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 10:25am

        Susan, I may be the only one (or just not awake yet) but I don’t see anywhere that says “Newsletter” on the right hand side of my page. Is it under a subcategory? (I checked “contact us” and “Customer service” already)


      • Shelley says:
        Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 2:20pm


        Got my newsletter this afternoon :):)

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