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A Mistake I Learned From……

 The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.

Elbert Hubbard (1856 – 1915) 

When I was in second grade, I had a wonderful teacher, Mrs. Courtney. She took a shy toe-head with big blue eyes and taught me how to use my talent for reading by picking me every single day to read aloud to the class.  She is the reason I wanted to become a teacher.  One day, she pulled me aside, she explained that I needed to complete my own work more quickly instead of watching the clouds fly by out of the windows.

Watching the clouds was a favorite pastime of mine.  I remember taking off my sandals and walking through the cool green grass to my favorite spot under my cherry tree.  I would choose to either climb the tree and lay on the branches or simply lay in the grass.  I’d pick my perfect spot, lay down, close my eyes and adjust to the bright blue sky.  Then I’d wait for the “ocean to reveal the ships”.  I could do this for hours uninterrupted while my brother and our dog would choose to dig huge holes in the garden.

Our school had windows at the back of the classrooms in elementary school that rose up from cabinets that were about 3 feet high, sending the windows to the ceiling – perfect for cloud watching and daydreaming.

I received my grade on the project we had been working on – I always received high marks – not this time.  Mrs. Courtney left a note with a red frowny face that said, “Michele, keep your feet firmly in place, your mind on the task at hand, and let your imagination soar on your breaks!”  Of course, being only 7 years old and even though I was pretty smart, I went up and asked her about the note and she explained that I day dream too much.

Thirty years later, I still have trouble keeping my mind on the task at hand.  What I learned from a young age was that in life we all have responsibilities and in order to enjoy life we must reach a balance of work and play.  As a dog trainer, I’m sure many of my clients, friends, and family think I am living the easy life doing what I love.  Truth is the time spent actually doing the part I love isn’t as long as you’d think.  Running a business takes a tremendous amount of responsibility, attention to detail, and the ability to multitask at the drop of a hat. 

There are plenty of days when I think I’m doing awesome – then I’ve got my husband to put my feet back on the ground and keep me focused on the task at hand.

Mistakes happen. Dwelling on them makes them happen over and over again.  Learning from your mistakes whether they are personality flaws, like mine, or not makes you a better person and teaches you how to recognize mistakes others are making and gives you a chance to teach someone how to learn from their mistakes.

A special thank you to Mrs. Courtney, Fuller Elementary School 1978-1979, for getting to know me and for teaching me about a mistake; daydreaming.

Michele Forto is the lead trainer for Denver Dog Works and the co-host for Dog Works Radio Show