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I’m still in shock that Etta is no longer here.  Tuesday, she was 100% alive.  Friday, she was gone.

I questioned everything.  “Doc, you have the wrong car!  Etta just has a tummy ache.  Give me the bill and send me on my way.  I have five more years with her.  You have the wrong dog.”

I abdicated my decision-making.  Every minute counted and I couldn’t move.  I was terrified of making the wrong decision.  “This is my husband’s dog.  I need to call him.”  My husband and I had decided years earlier what we’d do if we were ever in this situation.  It didn’t happen the way I thought it would.  “What would you do?”  My clients ask me that all the time.  Only we really know what to do – we are just afraid to do it.

I rehashed everything I could and should have done. 

Two days after her passing, I wrote it all down.  Journaling is a great way to see what’s in your head.  There it was – habitual thinking.  I am so thankful for coaching.  I’ve done a lot of work to clean up my habitual thinking.  But, I’m human, and the grooves in my brain are sometimes stronger especially during times of crisis or stress.   

Pull the thread of this thought…

When you argue with reality, you lose – but only 100% of the time.  The sooner I accepted it and dropped the arguments of why it was the wrong thing, the wrong time, the sooner I could move on to a decision about what to do next.  We argue to be a victim.  When we play the victim, we’re not taking responsibility for moving forward.  Only we really know what to do – we are just afraid to do it.

Not making a decision was a decision, but it didn’t move me one way or the other.  This pattern of decision-making, or lack thereof, shows up everywhere in our lives.  We don’t want to make a wrong decision, but not making one can’t be right.  Etta was my dog.  My husband may have picked her from a mug shot, but she was my dog.

My journal was full of judgement.  I’m not a good pet owner.  I made a wrong decision.  Maybe two, three, or four blood transfusions would have saved her.  You were not enough for her.  WOW.  Shame storm, anyone?  Not a single word of it was true.  I am a good pet owner.  I made good decisions for her for ten years.  I loved her.

I am so thankful to have coaching tools.  When we allow our minds to go unmanaged, we dip back into old habits.  We’ll argue against reality in hopes that we can change it.  We’ll give away our power to others and then blame them for our result.  We’ll have terrible conversations with ourselves about not doing it right or making mistakes.  Lashing ourselves may be motivating in the short term.  In the long term, it will have the opposite effect.  I am thankful for Etta’s final gift to me.  She was a great coach.

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