Growing up, I was the last one picked in gym class for any type of sports team. My phys ed teacher put high value on athletic ability and usually left me on the sidelines to keep score while the other girls played. I grew up hating team sports. I convinced myself that I was useless at them. When I looked in the mirror I saw an awkward, skinny, freckle-faced girl with no aptitude for sports. Even into my early adult years I avoided team sports like the plague. I hated the company picnics when we were supposed to play volleyball or softball and I always found an excuse not to participate.
But I was wrong. I enjoy being active. I love hiking, riding my horses, competitive dog sports, swimming, anything outdoorsy. It wasn't true that I was an nonathletic klutz like I had let myself believe. It had simply been an incorrect perception that I had of myself.
This memory taught me a big lesson - if we're not careful, we become what we believe. If we believe that we can't do better than what we are doing - then we won't. We'll get stuck in a rut - never achieving any more than what we perceive ourselves as. But if we look in that mirror and see who we want to become - we will. We'll start to consciously and unconsciously make the choices to drive us towards our goals.
Shelter directors and shelter boards of directors who are naysayers to the no kill movement discourage their staff, volunteers and donors who want to do better. They deflate their dreams and drag the whole shelter into doom and gloom. Everybody starts to believe that they are doing the best they can - and that is just the way it is. And guess what? Perception becomes reality.
Instead we need enthusiastic, compassionate, driven shelter directors like those described in this article from the No Kill Advocacy Center. We need boards of directors well-versed in the No Kill Equation who support the director and assist in fundraising.
As the no kill movement gains steam, the naysayers will either get on the bus or will have to step aside. If they truly love animals (as many of them say they do) they must look in the mirror and self-reflect. Those that join us will have to let go of false perceptions that they have believed for many years. We ARE a No Kill Nation. Don't let anyone tell you we're not.
Whether you think you can or think you can't - you are right. ~Henry Ford