I am tired. Honestly. I am so tired I really don’t know how this blog is going to turn out. Usually I plan a little bit in my head where something is going. Before I start writing, I try to think through an experience, what I’ve taken away from it, some pithy lines to throw in. But today I really have precious little idea what’s going to come out of this one. It could be terrible, could be brilliant. It will probably be littered with grammatical errors.* Let’s find out together…
The reason I’m so tired is that I just got a puppy. For anyone who follows me on social media, Ralph looks pretty chill (yes that is him in the above image, and I think you’ll agree he’s the cutest thing ever). He sleeps in his little dog bed. He cuddles up with me on the sofa. He potters around the garden and gets excited by a plant pot and falls over and it’s cute and hilarious and great. All of these things are true, but there’s the side you don’t see. The crazy, bite-y, high-energy moments that are so involving, so exhausting, that I can barely function by the end, let alone take photos. And I say this having been able to escape to work all week while James put in the long hours of training at home. I’ve been doing maybe 20% of the work, and I’m knackered.
And the weird thing is that this should be pretty easy, right? James and I are both bigger than Ralph. We’re smarter, we can communicate with language, we have been in this world longer than 10 weeks. Surely we have the advantage, and yet this little fluffy baby animal is winning. James and I both have colds from being so run down. Our house is a mess because we have to shove everything we own out of reach, which means piling it up on any surface we can find. We’re pretty much confined to our house because a) Ralph hasn’t had his final jabs b) he whines when we leave and c) he doesn’t like the car and goes crazy as soon as we try to drive anywhere.
The only advantage Ralph has? More energy. More energy means he wants to keep playing when I want to lie on the sofa, so then he jumps up and tries to bite things. More energy means he doesn’t have to listen, because all he has to do is outlast us. More energy means he can keep whining, keep jumping, keep biting, and he’ll get what he wants just so we can get him to stop. And I’m starting to wonder if this is the secret to getting what you want in life.
I’m developing a theory, and I think it holds up, that no matter how clever you are, no matter how creative or passionate or capable you are of getting the job done, the winner will be decided by who has the most energy. Who’s going to keep marching on while the other person gives up and goes home? Who’s going to keep speaking up for what’s right until the other person loses their voice and gives in? Who’s going to be the Duracell bunny that just keeps going? Because I’ll wager, nine times out of ten, that girl is going to be the last one standing. That girl is going to win.
So how do you be that girl? When the world is dragging you down, when life is exhausting, when you get a puppy and change jobs and get your period all in one week (yep, happened to me, and I do not recommend it) how to you find that extra energy? How do you ensure you’re not more tired than the other guy?
- Get back to basics: I’ve already covered this before, but looking after your basic needs is such an important thing that we so often ignore. Not getting enough sleep, not eating well, not taking any time for yourself, only compounds the problem. You’re not powering through, you’re starting yourself off at a disadvantage. Being less tired than the other guy makes up the vast majority of anyone’s success.
- Find your squad: When you’re tired and struggling, you need people around you to pick up the slack. When I was left on my own with Ralph for the first time and completely unable to look after him, my sister-in-law came round like the absolute QUEEN she is and played with Ralph so I could have a bath. When James and I starting doubting ourselves and whether or not we could do this puppy-raising thing, we spoke to our friends who had a puppy, followed by a baby, who made all the difference just by saying, “Yes, it is basically the same as having a newborn. It’s hard, but it gets easier.”
- Wear down the competition: You cannot train a puppy when he’s full of energy. Just like you cannot win that promotion or argue your point or change that system when the other side is more prepared, more confident and not in a place to listen. Work on approaching your challenging situation when the timing is right – when you have energy and determination and the opposition is more receptive to respond well. Sometimes that won’t always be possible, but picking your moment and making that little bit of progress can be the boost you need to keep going when you really don’t have the energy at all.
*Fun fact: when I first wrote that sentence, I genuinely said “grammatical errorys”. It’s been a long week.
Written by Chloe Satchell-Cobbett, Deputy Editor, Liberti