Like You Mean It
Last week I brought home a four month old black lab foster puppy from Humane Society who needed to recover from a bad cold before he can be adopted. Max is an even bigger sweetheart than I expected, but as you might guess, has had no training whatsoever.
I figured as long as he’s hanging out here, I may as well help him get a couple of commands under his belt. Luckily he’s smart and loves treats, so he’s making my job easy.
I’ve been through a couple of professional dog training classes with my pups, so I know how to do this. “Sit.” I say it once, I say it with conviction, and I say it with a treat strategically placed to get his nose up and his butt down.
Max mastered Sit in less than five minutes.
I’m so proud of this guy!
So we moved on to Lay.
“Laaaaaay.” I moved the treat to the ground to encourage him to bring his nose to the ground. But he wasn’t getting this one so much.
Okay, back to Sit to give him a reason to be praised. Bam! He knows that one like a champ!
“Laaaaaay.” He’s still confused. He doesn’t understand what I mean.
I already know he’s a quick study; he just proved it with Sit. What’s the deal?
After we run through it a couple more times, I realize the difference is ME. When I say Sit, I say it like I intend him to do so. When I say Lay, I say it more wondering if he’s going to get it. I’ve got this inflection in my voice like it’s more of a question (will you Laaaay?) rather than a command I expect him to follow. For some reason I must think Lay is trickier than Sit, from the way I’m behaving.
And, of course, we get what we expect. So it’s not that Max is challenged with Lay, it’s that I am.
My professional dog trainer girlfriend once told me she realized that dogs weren’t following her verbal instruction, they were following the pictures she had in her head. If she said “stay” but she was worried they would run (and had a picture in her head of them running), they would run. If she expected them to stay put, they would.
We’re doing the same thing with the Universe. Some things we’re confident about and say with a commanding voice and complete expectation. Other things we’re not so confident about, and it shows in how we FEEL as we make the request. The Universe is answering our vibe, not our words.
You probably have a couple of things in your life that you’re completely confident about. Like, I always knew if I could get an interview I could get an offer. I also know lights burn out when I’m around and that I’m a rock chip magnet. If I had that same confidence about how easy it is to live in harmony under one roof with my sweetie (Russ), I guarantee I wouldn’t have hired two different coaches to help me through it. (Hey, at least I got help on board to amp up my vibe!)
Where in your life are you asking – instead of telling – the Universe?
Russ noted that I only said “Sit” once to Max. (When he makes my dogs sit for a treat, he’ll say it at least three times before they have a chance to understand he’s serious. They know how to sit, they just don’t get asked to do it very often.) I told Russ I was training Max to answer on the first command. Why would I do it any other way?
Indeed, why would we?
Because we doubted it? Or doubted ourselves? Because we weren’t sure it was really possible?
Well, it IS possible. Whatever we can imagine, we can have be and/or do. No limits. No catch. No fine print.
About a month ago Russ opened the gates to pull his car out (I wasn’t home), and pit bull Joe very uncharacteristically (I wonder if Russ was worried that he might?) made a dash for the opening.
Now, Russ is a nice guy with my dogs and everyone loves him. There’s not a lot of discipline (he’s following my lead, I’m sure) and maybe because he knows (I think) I’m the boss of my house, he doesn’t throw commands at the dogs very often. When he says things to them, it’s more in an asking tone than a telling tone.
But in this moment, Russ changed. He yelled Joe’s name in a way Joe had never heard from Russ before. Russ said it like he meant it. And Joe hit the brakes INSTANTLY, whipping around to run back in the yard and see what he could do to please this authoritative new master. It wasn’t even the words that mattered – just the tone in Russ’ voice that made all the difference in the world.
I’d liked to have seen that!
And I’d also like to see us say it with conviction next time we put an order in with the Universe. Let’s say it like we mean it and let the Universe bend over backwards to please us. Anyone with me?
(D’oh!! There I go again!)
Less question – more authority! “Join me, fellow creators, in getting our instructions authoritatively to Universe in a way that gets delivered instantly and impressively!” Ahhh .. that’s more like it!