I’m dog-sitting two beautiful girls. 14-year-old Sadie and 2-year-old Charlie. Both Labrador retrievers, but Charlie has an added mix of crazy energy.
A pine cone from the yard is her favorite go-to *ball.* The first time we came indoors after playing, Charlie snagged a decorative pine cone off my desk. Look what I found! Does this mean we can keep playing fetch?!
I made her drop it and — while gathering up other low-lying pine cones — Charlie found a softer ball.
“If you didn’t mean for me to play fetch with this ball, you shouldn’t have left it in a basket on the floor.”
Charlie is the epitome of doggedness. Doggedness is this really great old word we don’t use much. It means, “stubborn perseverance; tenacity.”
You’re going to need tenacity on your cancer team, on your widow team … actually, while facing down any of life’s challenges.
Perseverance will serve you well if you’re pursuing a rather large goal. In my case of hoping to get a book published, editors want authors with a platform, a following, a speaking schedule. I need to conquer this social media learning curve, stack up speaking engagements, be on the look-out for guest blog opportunities.
What about your rather large goals? You’ve always wanted to learn to fly a twin-engine plane. Produce your own cooking show podcasts. Restore that classic ‘66 GTO. Start a consulting business. Hike the Inca trail to Machu Picchu.
Doggedness required on all accounts.
Here’s what I observed about doggedness while dog-sitting:
1. Be creative. If there are no balls in sight, find a pine cone. If no pine cones, a yarn ball will do just fine. Get creative about pursuing your goals and living well with your challenges.
2. No doesn’t mean no. Charlie drops the *ball* every time I say, “Drop.” But she doesn’t interpret the drop command to mean she can never pick up another ball. I get these polite rejection letters from literary agents that read something like this: “Just because we’re not interested in your book doesn’t mean it has no merit and another agent wouldn’t love it.” One of the things I’ve learned from literary agent rejection letters is to take any advice offered and make the proposal even better for the next submission. No doesn’t mean no.
3. Enjoy the chase. Charlie wags her tail — actually, her entire body — as she dances around me with the *ball.* She doesn’t simply jump over obstacles while chasing pine cones; she soars over them. When you experience obstacles, figure out what works best for you in managing and processing the disappointment and frustration so you can continue in the game. In Hubby’s final year, as bad news piled up on bad news, journaling and keeping a gratitude list were two tools that were a great help to me.
4. It’s not too late. Every once in a while, the elderly Sadie will try to get into the chase. So I fake a throw to Charlie, who gallops off after an imaginary pine cone, and then I lob it to Sadie. She grabs it and wags her tail as she returns with the prize. Maybe not as quickly as Charlie would have returned it, but nevertheless, she’s in the game. You’re not too old, it’s not too late to figure out what the new game is – after cancer, after life’s setbacks – and get back in.
5. Never quit. Ever. Charlie would keep up the chase indefinitely. If your goal is long in coming — such as, hoping to get a book published — determine determine not to give up.
6. Chase whole-heartedly. Put your whole heart and soul into facing down your challenge, into keeping your dreams alive. Cultivate joy and gratitude. Charlie doesn’t just run after a tossed pine cone. She thunders off at full speed, snatches up the cone without missing a galloping beat and makes an impressive full-speed U-turn. All the while joyfully wagging her tail.
I want to be more like Charlie.
What about you? What is your greatest challenge? What is deterring you from pursuing your goals? What do you need to do to regroup and stay doggedly in the chase?
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