Success, planning, life examined

Success, planning, life examined by Jeanine Renzoni

It seems like the weather is the mother of fated armchair introspection, of course having an antenna that went out and so the TV doesn’t work helps too. Excessive cold makes it easier to work inside. The shortest day, winter solstice,

Winter Solstice
Winter Solstice (Photo credit: Matthew Burpee)

is almost here – time to turn on the lights and review and plan and adjust instead of letting shadowy destiny arrive as it may.

Why? I worry that if I don’t do something pro-active many of the things I say and think I want, won’t happen. It’s too easy to put off, make excuses, do something that’s immediately more fun or entertaining or comforting – like read another book or go shopping or make cookies.

Outline or Mind map? I like to look at pictures and connections more than straight lines and words – at least if I’m going to look at them repeatedly. And since this process is all about me (or you if you plan to do it too) I want it to be as fun, entertaining and comforting as possible, but still meet the purpose of enthusiastically mapping out my plans, ideals, goals, and yes time frames.

I did a Lumosity brain preference quiz and it identified me as 62% right-brained, 38% left. This is likely too simplified, but fun as an explanation of why some things click and others don’t.

If you like outlines or specific kinds of paper, pens, computer software, iPad, smart phone, collages, paint, markers, stamps, stickers, calendars … use them, be authentic and enjoy it.

The most exhausting thing you can do is to be inauthentic.  – Anne Lindbergh

I’m doing some trading (my animal training ability for learning how to work in stained glass) and the artist I’m working with (Kathy Heir does lovely glass creations) suggested doing a collage first to clarify color preference, shape preferences and important things I like. Oddly I had just picked up a second-hand copy of Breathnach’s Illustrated Discovery Journal, which basically asked me to do the same thing – serendipity. It was fun and I ended up with an interesting piece I’ve posted in my craft room. If you haven’t done a collage (ever or recently) I’d strongly suggest doing it, cutting and pasting is more fun when you’re older (I disliked it sincerely in 2nd grade).

My collage of important things, preferred colors and shapes done before starting to work in stained glass.
My collage of important things, preferred colors and shapes done before starting to work in stained glass.

I saw a recent AP from Jack Canfield ( of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame) that uses photos and statements. According to him, the research states phrasing as if the goal were already achieved is the most beneficial way of posting/thinking of it to make it real. So instead of ‘I will’ statements change to I am or have or do or … In the world of this affirmative plan, events are already happening, in place, active, not just out there waiting to be started.

One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats. – Iris Murdoch

I really like dog training, I’m really good at it, but I need to re-think what I’m doing if I’m actually going to make a second truly profitable career out of it. This year I got certified as an AKC Canine Good Citizenship evaluator, completed new simplified handouts for classes, in-depth trained four dogs, made lots of agility equipment for 4H (significant time spent here), volunteered as 4H dog project leader, took agility classes with my own dogs and am on board with S. Garrett’s training PP for the next 13 months. The current balance here is still on acquiring more knowledge instead of being paid for it. So far on the not happenin’ yet are self-produced YouTube/videos and anti-dog bite programs for school kids (although I did segments of this in each class and for the 4H dog project kids/parents). The weather this spring put a dent in the outdoor classes, maybe I need a goal about alternatives related to weather.

I like art and music and writing and gardening and food (know a lot about food and health) … So the process involves finding key things and focusing on key pieces of them that I think (you think) would make an important difference, a needed difference in making success (whatever the definition of success is for you). These are the goals, these are the stuff of dreams, but in this game they are already here, happening and do-able.

Life examined? So far on my 2013 mind map there are some nice completed successes and there are areas of stagnation. I wonder should I keep the things in that haven’t had much action? Were they as important as I initially thought they were? What actually seemed most successful? Am I holding myself accountable (in a friendly, frequently nicely treated way) or would I be fired if I worked for somebody else? What things did I concentrate on that I didn’t put in my plan?

Often a small jot on the plan can be a much bigger task than expected. The good thing about this is learning a lot about – details, deep understanding, process. The bad thing is time is taken away from everything else.

What might it look like if I did an outline?

10 year plan – 2014                                                   Finished

  • joined a professional dog trainers association
  • accepted as a guest speaker for dog club
  • participated in competition
  • submitted 6 articles to dog magazines
  • participated in dog club events
  • finished on training video ea. two weeks
  • completed dog art – photos, drawings, painting
  • put up large Cover-All for training classes
  • added agility equipment and sessions
  • limited novel reading (1/wk)

Two Years – 2015

  • designed a new website
  • competed in 3 agility trials (AKC)
  • wrote 1 dog blog per week
  • edited/completed 1 video per week
  • commissioned for 1 dog artwork
  • finished 15 strong pieces (art)
  • guest trained for other training sites
  • ?volunteered for Leaders Blind puppy trainer
  • attended Clicker.expo

Five years – 2018

  • offering web-based dog training
  • breeding and training service dogs
  • participating in two shows per year
  • attending schutzhund training
  • celebrated 

Ten years – 2023

  • writing/illustrating children’s dog book
  • finishing one great painting each month
  • transferred the training/kennel to protegé

This last section feels too far out, too hard to project as so many things could change and I’ll be past retirement age. I guess I’m not sure what I’m planning to do in retirement, I’ll have to think about it more. Plus the outline format makes me feel uncomfortable, it’s too linear or something, but if it works for you – go for it!



One thought on “Success, planning, life examined

  1. Jeanine, make all the lists you want, whatever will be, will be, you know the rest of the song. The whole trick is to roll with it. Seems to me like you are doing a good job of rolling.
    I look forward to the solstice, returning heat, and light, and warmth.
    We are still in fall, there is a long winter ahead, but another spring will come, one way or the other. Now, turn the page….
    Friend Jim

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