Have you ever had a dream? A dream so big that it seems too fantastic to be possible, that makes the hairs on your the back of your neck stand up, that makes your heart beat faster and harder?
A dream that – if carried out – could make a huge difference in the lives of others – of dogs and humans who need YOUR help, YOUR vision, YOUR talent to live better lives?
And have you ever watched as life overtook that dream, layering like fallen snowflakes over it, covering it beneath a pile of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, leaving your dream buried, frozen deep beneath the drift?
If so, you are not alone.
The dog business dream
The dream of having a dog business is not an uncommon one. There are so many ways people can get involved in the dog world these days and it is common for pet owners, dog sport competitors, and dog skills specialists to think, “I could do that” or “I could solve that” or “I’ve got a product idea for that”.
But many of these dreams never see the light of day.
Why? Why is it so difficult to make our dreams come true?
The stories we hear
Everything seems to conspire to tell you that it just isn’t possible. Society, circumstances, life, even well meaning friends and family will step in to tell you all the reasons why you shouldn’t pursue your dream. That it is a crazy idea. That it just won’t work. That it will be too hard. That so many businesses fail. That it is too big a risk.
And the worst bit? You begin to believe them. The doubts creep in, then you hit the inevitable setbacks and think, “they were right, this is too hard”, the tough times come and you are so busy, so overwhelmed, and so tired that you give up.
The stories we tell
You would think that if this was your burning passion, the very fire of your dream would be enough to set any such doubts alight and propel you through any roadblock and on to achievement. But it isn’t so. Even with the brightest of dreams driving us on, the negatives are so many, so overwhelming and so often repeated that the message of “Don’t do it!” they deliver can’t help but sink in.
The worst bit is that we don’t just absorb the story, we begin to add to it. Our fear holds us back. We are frightened to fail, frightened to put ourselves out there, and frightened that it will all be too much for us. We add all of this to the already stacked stories of imminent doom and it all just seems too difficult and we tell ourselves that it is impossible.
And with that, we lay our dream gently onto a shelf and get back on with our ordinary lives.
The secret success saboteur
And sometimes there is another fear working away in the background. An insidious, profoundly powerful fear that can sabotage every dream you have: fear of success.
But why would anyone fear success? Doesn’t everyone want to succeed?
On a level, yes, but deep down we can often fear success because of what it will mean to our lives. We are frightened that things will change if we are successful. Comfort zones are dangerous places for anyone who wants to achieve, but our old “survival” brains love them. Your brain is definitely of the opinion that you are better off with the devil you know!
As soon as you start to do things that mean change, your brain gets very uncomfortable. It can put the brakes on in sneaky ways that you wouldn’t even begin to think of. Ever found yourself procrastinating, not doing what you know needs to be done to move a project forward, forgetting tasks? There’s a good chance your brain was trying to “keep you safe” in the least helpful way possible.
Change your story, change your life
But on the other side of fear is a whole new world of awesomeness waiting to be explored: working with people and dogs you love, able to design your day, your name above the door, putting your creations out there into the world, making a difference, having more time with your family and your own dogs, changing the world, and changing your world.
Begin to change your story. Each journey starts with a single step, and small steps will help your brain adjust to the changes as it sees that the new way of living and doing things is ok and nothing to worry about. As you complete tasks and step along the path, your confidence will grow and you will build momentum.
And if you keep on taking those steps, you will create something wonderful: a whole new life for yourself.
Take those first steps
Stepping out of your comfort zone is scary and can feel a bit overwhelming. What should you do first if you have a burning dream that you want to take forward?
Make time: it is so easy to be tempted to wait until you are less busy or have less on your plate. Unfortunately that time is never going to come. Don’t wait. Do it now! You have to make time to make it happen. Delegate some tasks from your get-to-do list, or write some off completely. Do what it takes to make your dream a priority in your life.
Get advice, help and support: no one is an island. You don’t have to do this all alone. Speak to your family and friends, let them know how important this is to you. Don’t be shy to express your dream and to reach for it, and to ask for the help you need to get there.
Reach out to awesome online communities – the absoluteDogs Pro Dog Trainer programme has a fantastic community for those looking to start and build dog businesses. It is a great place to go to get support, bounce ideas, get creative, seek solutions, and celebrate progress with a fabulous bunch of like minded people.
Need to build your skills? Don’t know how to do something? Don’t let it stop you. Ask. Get training, ask questions, take a course, shadow those who already do what you want to do – learn the skills you need that will allow you to move forward.
Take action: this is the single most important step to making progress. It is the foundation behaviour that enables everything else. If you don’t take action, nothing will happen. End of. No one else is coming to make your dream happen for you (and nor should they – where would be the fun in that?) You have to design it, desire it, declare it, and do it.
Grab your free copy of Lauren’s book, The Action Taker’s Guide to Your Dog Business here for a step by step guide to starting and building your dog business. It is jam packed with real-life ready resources that will prompt you to take the action steps necessary to succeed.
So if you are burning with a dream, a passion to change things up, do things better, make people smile, make the world a better place for dogs and their humans, go do it! Don’t wait. Your new life awaits. You can’t afford to waste a single second. Begin!
Feeling inspired? Tell us the first step you are going to take towards your dream in the comments below.