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18 12 2009

I wasn’t expecting to learn a huge life lesson that particular morning…

Many mornings you can find me hiking up a local mountain with my dogs – allowing them to run free on the trails and through the woods.  This particular day was typical of the Northwest during winter.  Heavy gray skies hugged the mountain, wisps of fog dancing through the towering Douglas Firs.  Heavy rain the night before was still dripping off the trees, providing a beautiful background chorus as I hiked. 

I will admit I wasn’t paying much attention to my dogs.  I never did.  They knew the mountain and loved to roam free.  They would always find me to check back in every ten minutes or so.  I had hiked to the end of the trail and was just turning around to start back down when a chorus of barking started – drifting up from somewhere down the mountain. 

I know my dog’s barks.  I can tell if they have treed a squirrel or come upon an intruder.  I can also tell when they’re in trouble.  This bark clearly spelled trouble.  I quickened my pace. 

Suddenly, Bogey, my Rottweiler, came racing around the curve in the trail.  As soon as he spotted me, he whipped around and started back down.  The barks further down the mountain had now turned into frantic yelps.  My walk became a run as I raced down the trail.  Sable, my Labrador, clearly needed my help.

I ran for about a quarter mile before I spotted Bogey on the edge of the trail, running back and forth, barking furiously.  I raced up to him, looked down, then started to laugh.  It took me only a moment to figure out what had happened.

The dogs had been running through the woods when they decided to come up on the trail.  Bogey, being the more athletic of the two, had simply jumped over the log that stood in his way.  Sable couldn’t make it.  When I ran up he was trying frantically to crawl up and over the log, yelping his fear as he failed over and over.  All he knew was he had been left behind.

So why was I laughing?

The log he was trying to jump over was about 6 feet long.  On either side there was a clear trail he could have used to come up to the logging road.  But noooo…. He had seen Bogey jump over the log so that must be the only way to do it.  That log was all he could see. 

I did everything I could to call him over to the end of the log so he could see his way up.  He would move a foot or two either direction but each time returned to his futile attempt to jump the log.  His frantic yelps continued to ring through the woods.  While it was funny, it was also maddening.  I did not want to crawl down that muddy embankment to save a dog that didn’t need saving.

I ended up crawling down the bank….

All because he couldn’t see beyond his present circumstances.  All I did was move him over 2 feet.  He saw the trail and seconds later was on the road, greeting Bogey as if they’d been apart for days. 

How many of us are like that?  We watch how one person achieves success at something and we decide that’s the only way.  We don’t take into consideration our own style, our own strength, or our own limitations.  We don’t realize success is achievable – we may just need to do it another way.  We become fixated on doing it THAT way. 

And we fail.

Not because we weren’t capable.  Not because success wasn’t attainable.  We fail because we wouldn’t consider another way. 

There is always a way to achieve your goal.  Be creative.  Think outside the box.  Find the way that fits you. 

Then go do it!

Join 5 Million for Change

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