I spent the better part of the morning looking back over my career and my life in general. I was specifically looking at the big achievements, successes and times when I was really on top of my game. I wanted to understand what specifically I was doing that made me feel so good and perform so well. Was there a common skill or talent? What was my mental state? What were the circumstances? Who was I doing it with and how did we work together? I wanted to see if I could identify the conditions where I thrived so I could seek out similar circumstances in a job or other business opportunity.
As 11:00 rolled around, I packed it up to meet my wife at home and take our dog Aussie to a sheep herding class. I know that sounds a bit strange, but Aussie is a Queensland Heeler, Australian Shepherd mix. We noticed that he tended to herd other dogs at the dog park and even the kids in the neighborhood. A few months back another dog owner told us about this sheep herding class not far from our house. We looked it up but had not yet taken him there as the only day classes were held was on Wednesdays, and I had to work.
Well, since having to put our twelve year old lab to sleep last week, Aussie has been pretty depressed. Since I am “in transition” my schedule is pretty flexible and we thought that now would be a good time to check out this class and see if it wouldn’t get all of our minds off Bo. So we packed Aussie, lots of water, a couple of beach chairs and $30 cash into the car and off we went.
After introductions and a couple of demonstrations from more experienced herding dogs, it was Aussies turn to see if he had the instinct to keep a flock of eight sheep together and following the leader, which was me. Within minutes of letting Aussie off the leash and reassuring him it was alright to go near the sheep, I was dumbfounded to see him jump right in and start circling the sheep, herding the strays back to the rest of the flock and looking to me with excited and eager eyes, for direction. At that moment I thought back to the morning’s exercise and thought Aussie was in his element, on top of his game. He was completely alive because he was doing what he was created to do.
The other dog owners nodded and smiled, many commenting that Aussie “was a natural”. The instructor agreed saying how much he enjoyed seeing dogs embrace their instincts for the first time. I had to agree. It was moving and inspirational to see a dog I had lived with for three years suddenly spring to life like I had never seen before. I wanted to experience this feeling in my own life. I wanted to find that thing for which I was created to do