Facing Your Fear of Failure in Freestyle
Fear of failure is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for anyone who competes with their dogs, including Freestylers. There is something especially daunting about failing when you are not only showcasing your training, but something you have created, something that is a piece of you.
While you can have wonderful feelings of true and untethered emotion just from performing a great routine in your living room, Musical Freestyle is meant to be shared. Freestyle should bring delight not only to you and your dog, but also to your audience. When that happens, the feeling is uniquely, purely joyful!
“But Julie, this means I might fail in front of people!” Yes, that’s very true. But I’m going to tell you a secret…
I’m afraid of others seeing me fail, too. (Failing in private? Meh…) Failing in public can feel devastating. Yes, me, who has earned Championships and several high awards in freestyle. Who has spent the last 20 years training in the sport. Who developed a titling organization to encourage others to partake in this most amazing of dog sports. I’m afraid of failing in public, too!
I have failed in public more times than I care to think about. But I encourage you to go for it anyway! In spite of your fear of failure, continue to persevere and to train. Only then will have an experience with your dog that fills you with joy and gratitude, that gives you a high like no other. These experiences are what help motivate us to overcome our fear of failure and reach our true potential with our dogs.
Speak kindly to yourself, just like you do to your dog! If you engage in self-talk like, “I’m too clumsy… I’m not a dancer… I would look silly… I’m not creative…” and Freestyle is your dream, you’ll be, well, F’d. You’d be destined to fail.
Instead, engage in positive self-talk. And think of how what you’re doing benefits your dog and your relationship! He has so much fun spending time with you. He loves getting all your attention. He is pure joy when you get silly with him! He doesn’t give two hoots how well you dance, he wants to dance for the fun of it.