Stop Building Your Wall
I often have conversations with new people about when they're going to start trialing. Normally I hear something along the lines of "once my dog is trained, I for sure will start". To which I invariably reply "God hates a coward". Of course I'm mostly joking but not entirely. The thing is, I wouldn't have asked when they would start if I didn't think their dog was trained enough to handle it. Yet people will procrastinate competition until they reach this impossible level of excellence. A level they will probably never achieve, especially if they never push themselves enough to go to a competition. I will at this point have a frank conversation with them on their expectations. The reality is, people suck at their first trial. People probably suck at their first ten trials. I mean I'm a few years in now and there's tons of trials that I fail miserably at. Success comes slowly in this sport, but it does come. And you can't measure your success simply on trial results. In fact I wrote a whole blog about that under the title "Measure Your Own Success". But I hear you, "I'm not worried about winning, I'm just too nervous to go". Nervousness is natural. It's even rational. My first big trial was at a show in Calgary called "Clock, Stock and Barrel". Which is hosted in an arena with seating for 2,500. Now I think there may have been 100 people watching when I first went but it felt like it was roughly 34 million. I was so nervous that I started blacking out and I genuinely could only see out of one eye. I know I know, melodramatic but entirely true. I've been there many times since and in fact placed second at the Calgary Stampede at that same venue when every one of the 2,500 seats were occupied. Yes I was nervous but more on the level of butterflies than a stroke. Next year will probably be better and same with the year after that. So it comes full circle. Stop building your wall. Every time you procrastinate starting is a brick on the wall between you and starting. Even if you're not totally ready, go. Then practice and go again. Pretty soon you won't even think about going. You'll have years of memories, friends, and life lessons from your time in this sport. I know I have.