Have you ever walked into a room and then forgot what you went in there for? You search around, can’t figure out what you need so you leave and then 10 minutes later you remember and you go and get it? How do you deal with that mental error? Likely you do nothing. You possible feel a bit stupid but you forget it.

This shot sums up my feelings about running at a World Championship pretty well. Taken at the start line, just before I ran with Feature it is clear where my thoughts are . . . it is all about the dog.. Photo by Ursula Urban.

That is exactly what I did last week at the world championships when I ran the wrong course. I apologized to my teammates, I whispered to my red girls how proud I was of the job each of them did and I promised them I would be better every run after that –and I was.

We all make mental errors. The ones that no one knows about we get over pretty quickly don’t we? Forgetting why you went into a room is a pretty benign error. Nobody knows about it and you forget about it. You run a course wrong in your own backyard you likely forget about it before you get back into the house.

Funny you forgive yourself pretty easily for some slip ups, why not others? Yes something that impacts a “team” may be more difficult to get over than forgetting why you walked into a room, but they are all just mental errors. I think part of the disappointment comes from missing out on a chance to win something important but I believe for many people the real difference comes when our egos try to stop us from appearing weak or incompetent in front of our peers. Mine gave up trying to stop me years ago:).

Failing in public can get even more difficult if you are someone that others looks up to like a teacher or a judge. I believe this is a big reason many people don’t step into the agility ring at all, or won’t enter a “big” event like their breed National Speciality or a Regional or National Championship. Or perhaps they once did participate in agility but now don’t allow themselves that luxury for fear of exposing their limitations to others.

Hey, get over yourself.

Trust me, few people are actually watching you anyway. Sure they may be at ringside, but that is just where they are physically. Mentally they are either talking about their next run or explaining away the follies of their last one.

Your shenanigans on the agility field may entertain an eye blink of time in their otherwise preoccupied mind but your antics will quickly be forgotten with the same speed with which you entered their thought processes.

You know I am right.

Here are two of my favorite quotes on overcoming;

I make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes.

Sara Teasdale

Seriously good words to live by, everything coming back to gratitude for me.


“Failure is an event not a person; yesterday ended last night.”

Zig Zigler (you have just got to love the Zigmeister:)).

For me, yesterday ends after each run. My next run is a new day.

Looking back at the unfortunate event of me walking the wrong course at the World Championships some have suggested a teammate or coach should have caught my error in course walking during the actual course walk through? Here is what I think. First of all, as the late Coach Wooden said

“You are never a failure if you did your best — unless you blame others.”

I did my best. Actually when I look at the videos of those runs– my dogs and I were pretty darn great. It is just unfortunate the judge wasn’t judging the course I was running:).

Secondly, I believe somebody was meant to make that error this year. Obviously God figured I was the best prepared for this job:).  And I guess He was right because I held my head high and felt no shame, misery or embarrassment after the episode. I was disappointed I didn’t do better for my dogs, my friends, my country – but I accepted the fact I am human and with that comes the privilege to fail and move on. Once my dogs were cooled out, I head back to the stands to sit with my team, make plans to prevent the same thing from happening on future runs and then enjoy watching the rest of the class.

It was a error, but one I know has already lead to some great things. Like the discussion we are having here on this blog. Or me learning an incredible lesson about myself or maybe even FCI looking at the way they run their team event (that may be too much to ask but obviously the teams that must run first are at a terrible disadvantage that never gets balanced out later on at the event).

I was on a Canadian team that had extremely high expectations for the 2010 World Championship but one that had an even higher sense of team unity. We had great leadership that started at home with our mental prep coach; John Cullen and was carried on at the event by a management team that handled each and every disappointment in a way that allowed the team member to rebound and do better on their next run.

Never make excuses; your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them.

John Wooden

I’ve got more to share with you on this topic later:).

Today as we Canadians celebrate our Thanksgiving weekend,  I am grateful for the awesome support each of you have shown on this blog with your great comments on this subject.