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It was my senior year of college and I had just gotten my first dog. I loved him immensely, but he had more energy than I knew what to do with and needed to be trained – desperately. The only word he knew when I rescued him was “No”. He had no clue what his name was nor did he know how to sit or lay down on command. I quickly realized that I was just as clueless about teaching him these basic skills. Naturally, as a diligent first-time dog mom, I asked my friends for recommendations and ended up at a local dog school.

Maverick was the youngest and most energetic dog in his class. He was frequently distracted, had trouble following instructions, and found creative ways to bypass the treats-for-tricks rule. I was frustrated and embarrassed that my dog was so misbehaved. I knew he was smart and he did phenomenal when we practiced training at home, but in a class with 15 other dogs, he was a distracted puppy who did not want to listen to me.

It was during the first class that the primary trainer told puppy parents the most important word I have in my vocabulary: Yet. The trainer told us to add the word yet to every sentence we said or thought in regard to our dog’s training.

My dog doesn’t listen to me, yet. My dog is not behaving the way I want him to, yet. My dog cannot seem to get this skill down, yet.

This blew my mind! Maverick and I went from a hopeless case to a couple of students still learning the game of life. Every time I became frustrated enough that I wanted to cry or get angry, I paused for a moment and added the word “yet” to every statement. Heck, sometimes I even whispered the word aloud to hammer it into my mind.

Years later, I realize that the dog trainer did more than just help me train a dog. He helped me practice a growth mindset. Just by adding the word “yet” to a thought or belief, I discovered that I became determined rather than defeated. The word “yet” reminds me every day that situations are not permanent, nor are they something to resign yourself to. It is amazing to think that a simple three-letter word changed the way I looked at the world.

Like with everything, start small. Remind yourself that things aren’t permanent. If that reminder is difficult to remember, write it down or make it a mantra. One of my favorite things about “yet” is that it can subtly remind us that change is possible, especially when you focus on it. Lean into the idea of growth. If that still seems hard, give yourself the option to grow.

I will leave you with one final idea that might help you get started: Imagine what might happen if you added “yet” to your regular vocabulary.


If you are interested in scheduling a consultation call with Kaitlyn, please reach out to info@embracestrengthcounseling.com.