"Be Yourself...everyone else has been taken."
Sometimes one's ego gets in the way of their success. In working sheepdogs, you had better "leggo your ego." I think you need a little 'ego' to compete. But, you need to be able to constructively discuss the good with the bad in order to make progress. I have these conversations all the time, mostly with myself, my husband, a few girlfriends, and on my blog. I try to be blatantly honest with myself and about my dogs.
I have little aspirations to perform at the National Finals. But, I do have high aspirations each time I compete. I compete against MYSELF. I truly don't compete against my friends. I try to go out onto the field and do a better job than the last time. Plus, I have no problem with going to someone else and asking some training questions that I might be having a problem with. I think that is important. I get my joy from working my own dogs and trying to figure out what is going right, what is going wrong, and working on new ways of communicating with them. :0)
The other weekend there was a discussion among several stockdog trialers about getting bad sets of sheep at certain trials. There was some talk of even 'fixing' sets of sheep and giving the good sets to the people who were running the trial or something like that. These people weren't going to frequent those trials anymore. And, most certainly, that's their perogative.
Okay then....that made me SMILE.
Why? Well, I like to get a good packet of sheep, too, but honest injun, I really don't care what I get. I'm going to do my best with what I have been given. I don't even give a hootenanny who the judge might be. I'm competing against myself anyway. :0)