I love my dog. I love him so much, I call him my son. Happy is a 1 year old fluff ball of energy – all 10.2 lbs of him! He’s playful, funny, sweet and gentle. He loves to cuddle and get belly rubs. Whenever I hold him in my arms, he goes right for my face (and my earlobes in particular), and licks me with all his might. He also loves it when I plant sweet little kisses on his neck. He’s a ham. Have I mentioned that I love him?

I wasn’t always a dog lover though. In fact, I used to be deathly afraid of all animals. Like if I saw a dog walking on the same sidewalk, I would cross the street to the other side in order to avoid any contact. Getting over this clearly irrational fear of mine was always something I wanted to overcome. In 2001, I decided to vacation in beautiful Australia, the world’s sixth largest country and its largest island. Beautiful Australia, with its Great Barrier Reef, Outback, and the world’s largest monolith, Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock). But, as Bill Bryson wrote in “In a Sunburned Country”:

“(Australia) has more things that will kill you than anywhere else. Of the world’s 10 most poisonous snakes, all are Australian. Five of its creatures – the funnel web spider, box jellyfish, blue-ringed octopus, paralysis tick, and stonefish – are the most lethal of their type in the world. This is a country where even the fluffiest of caterpillars can lay you out with a toxic nip, where seashells will not just sting you but actually go for you. Pick up an innocuous cone shell from a Queensland beach, as innocent tourists are all too wont to do, and you will discover that the little fellow inside is not just astoundingly swift and testy but exceedingly venomous. If you are not stung or pronged to death in some unexpected manner, you may be fatally chomped by sharks or crocodiles, or carried helplessly out to sea by irresistible currents, or left to stagger to an unhappy death in the baking outback. It’s a tough place.”

I decided pretty early on in my Australian Adventure that I would use this trip to finally get over my fears. So, in typical Sandy fashion (read: “go big or go home”), I set out for some serious exposure therapy. I swam in the (shark infested) Great Barrier Reef. I fed kangaroos. I cuddled a koala. I stayed at questionable hostels whose showers and toilets were crawling with lizards and frogs, and whose outdoor eateries were feet away from wild dingoes. I even held a baby crocodile in my hand (and have the picture to prove it!). Like I said, go big or go home.

I look back on that trip with deep fondness and appreciation. If it hadn’t been for all the little risks I took back then, I would never have been ready to share my life with my sweet little guy, Happy. I would have missed out on his companionship, love and enthusiasm for life. Even though Happy has only been in my life for one year, I cannot imagine my life without him.

Now I wouldn’t recommend this drastic change tactic of mine to everyone – in fact, it’s really important to know your own internal gage for change. Working with me as your Professional Coach, we can identify your own internal Change Speedometer, and together, we can set specific goals for positive transformation in your life.

In Bliss,
Coach Sandy

Sandy Kiaizadeh
Find Your Bliss Coaching

Author's Bio: 

Sandy Kiaizadeh, B.Comm, ATC, is the founder of Find Your Bliss Coaching, a professional coaching business committed to empowering women around the world to reach their fullest potential and live the lives they’ve dreamed of. Sandy completed her coach training at Adler International Learning, in association with the University of Toronto/OISE. She is a member of the International Coach Federation, the Human Resources Professional Association, as well as Career Professionals of Canada. Sandy also writes for Bliss Bulletin, a free monthly e-zine for the busy professional. This newsletter offers insider secrets and free professional coaching resources designed to help you achieve a more balanced and blissful life.