Question from Mariela:
You talk about how to get yourself into a calm assertive State? How do you go into that state? What should you be thinking about or feeling when you are in that state? I just want to know if I’m doing it right!
By the way, I love Cheri! I just saw an episode with her – she is a great and can help Cesar explain his concepts in more detail!
Advice from Cheri Lucas:
What a great question! This is the same question I had over a decade ago when I met and began training under Cesar. I was a “panic queen,” always expecting and anticipating the worst behavior from my dogs. And as a result, I always got exactly what I expected!
Cesar always seems cool and collected in any circumstance. If any of the dogs we were working with misbehaved, he remained calm, corrected the situation and moved forward.
One day I was working with the dogs at my shelter, Second Chance at Love Humane Society, feeling very alone and unsure about my abilities. I called Caesar, lamenting the fact that he was not able to visit my Ranch as much as he’d been able to before his TV career took off. I relied on his expertise and didn’t know what to do without it. His answer was my wake up call, “ Cheri now it’s the time for you to make your own mistakes and learn your own lessons!” That was a very powerful moment for me. I realized that true leadership begins when we make a decision to trust in our own abilities.
Because my nature had always been to expect the worst outcome for most situations, I had to make a complete shift in my attitude. At the time, my biggest fear was walking “ problem” dogs together. I decided to spend four to five minutes Every Morning by visualizing what I wanted my pack walks to be like.
I envisioned getting two leashes on each dog. In my mind, my dogs behaved calmly and submissively. Each dog stayed by my side, ears back, moving forward calmly and with purpose. I also took the time to focus on what my own demeanor would be like colon calm, powerful, in control and completely sure of my abilities. I saw the entire 4-mile walk take place in my mind without any problems. I made sure that my brief “ meditation” always concluded by seeing a picture of myself taking each dog to his or her individual run after the walk. I saw East dog relaxed, balanced and fulfilled after their exercise session with their pack and their leader… ME!
I wish I could say my transformation happened overnight, but like most things in life, it was a process. My strategy was to “ fake it till I make it,” and for me, it worked. The nice thing about success is that it breeds further success. Each time I experienced a great pack walk, I felt more confident in my abilities.
My advice to anyone seeking to be more calm and assertive is to think of someone whose confidence and ability you admire. They don’t have to be famous, but they have to be admired by you. they might be a parent, a teacher, or anyone who has inspired you. Then, visualize that person watching you interact with your dogs and being impressed by your abilities and confidence. Play that scenario over and over again in your head. Practice this everyday as one of your most important rituals.
Visualization is a powerful tool that we all have at our disposal. It doesn’t cost a dime, but it does require imagination, faith, and self-trust. Go out and be the leader you know you can be!