You’ve got a goal. Now, how are you going to achieve it? For inspiration, just look around. I didn’t have to look further than my feet where Sydney, our Golden Retriever, is usually sitting.

Here are five things she’s taught me so far about navigating the road to success…

1. Be fearless in taking the first step.Sydney on step

Before Sydney took that first step down the porch steps, she had a goal. In front of her was big back yard, with all of the grass, trees, and flowers that come with it. This was hers to explore. She figured out fast that there was only one way to get there – one step at a time.

Perched on the porch, it took courage for her to make it to the next step. With encouragement, she did it. Happy with that accomplishment, she hopped her way to the bottom where her playground awaited.

Getting out of your comfort zone isn’t always easy. It’s a familiar place. You know it well. But if you want to achieve any goal, it’s where you have to go.

2. Be hungry for it.

Sydney gate

When Sydney was confined to the kitchen, she knew one thing – she wanted out. Through the gate she could see the living room. It was another world to explore.

Her joy of chewing and her untrained bladder meant that she just wasn’t ready to go there yet. The furniture and the carpet weren’t ready for her to be there either!

My family took turns bringing Sydney into the living room for short visits until she was mature enough to venture there on her own. It was a great day for her when the gate came down.

Sydney was relentless in the pursuit of her goal. And so should you be.

3. Learn all you can, and then some.Sydney graduation

Six weeks of puppy training made Sydney a smarter dog. She learned that waiting for a treat is better than diving right in; jumping through a hoop may be required now and then; and that it’s better to walk, than to run.

She also discovered that a treat was waiting at the end of each mastered lesson.

What ever your goal is become educated first. Take a class, earn a degree, talk to people that do what you want to do, and open a book. You’ll be smarter too and well on your way to achieving your goal.

4. Stay focused.Sydney focused photo

Show Sydney a tennis ball, and nothing else matters. Throw it, and she’ll retrieve it. Hide it, and she’ll look for it. Even when she’s sleeping, the tennis ball is nearby.

There are plenty of distractions in the course of a day. The trick is making the best choices about how to manage your time.

Sydney knows her continued focus and patience will pay off. And now you do too.

5. Rest assured.Sydney lap dog

Take the first step, learn all you can, be hungry, and stay focused on the goal. The rewards will come. Thank you, Sydney, for bringing that message home.

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