At the end of May, I decided I was going to boldly try something I’d never tried before: grow flowers. I chose dahlias because I liked the picture on the package.

How hard could it be, right?

Two long weeks later, I finally got this result:

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Enlarged so you can see what I’m talking about

Not exactly what I was hoping for, but it was a start.

Yesterday–56(!) days after I started this project–I saw this:

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It’s taller, but what’s up with the holes in the leaves?

Now, there are two ways to look at this. Option 1, I could look at the whole thing and think THAT’S not what it looks like on the package! and figure there’s no use in continuing this project.

Or, option 2, I could look at it like this:

An actual dahlia that I grew is BLOOMING!!!!.png

I’m gonna go with option 2, because it feels better.

(Yep, that’s the same picture. Maybe you didn’t notice the little bloom in the upper right corner at first.)

Point 1: We can focus on whichever part of the picture we want. I like to focus on the part that generates good feelings.

Point 2: Previous to this little project, I always thought it would be nice to walk onto my patio and see flowers. And that was as far as that thought went.

With this project, I actually did something different: I put in some time and some effort (and was forced into patience), and **magically** got a different result than I did when I just wished I had flowers on my patio.

Point 3: I’m certain there’s at least one reader (Hi, Mom!) who could produce a lush, beautiful, blooming basket of dahlias that would blow mine away. AND make it seem effortless. Because my mom’s been gardening for years. She has tons of experience, she loves it, and it shows.

But here’s where I’m going to focus instead: I tried something I’ve never tried before and actually made a bloom happen!

Point 4: My result is far from perfect, but it’s definitely progress from where I started. I’m going to keep going and see what other magic I can pull off. And call my mom for some guidance 😉

Great. So what does any of this have to do with dementia?

Point 1: As dementia care partners, we get better results when we put our focus on what we’re doing right–and what’s going right–rather than dialing down on the negative. It just feels better, too.

Point 2: Our very best chance of seeing a different result is to try something different than what we’ve been doing…especially if what we’ve been doing isn’t getting us the result we want!

Point 3: People with a lot of experience in a particular area have an easier time getting to the result we want because they’ve done it so many times. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try; it just means it’s going to take us a little longer to get the result we’re going for.

Point 4: Let’s focus on progress rather than perfection–and reach out to experts for help along the way!

Now it’s your turn:

My double-dog dare to you is to email me the answers to the two questions below.

I’ll answer your email with at least one idea of what to do to move forward and get closer to a different (better!) outcome.

I feel like we’ve known each other long enough that I shouldn’t have to say this, but just in case: NO, the one idea isn’t going to be some icky-spammy email saying “Hire me!” Blech.

1-What’s the one thing you WISH was different about your situation with your loved one?

2-What are the top three things that are keeping you from changing the situation? (If it’s just one thing, great! But most people feel there are at least three things that are keeping them stuck.)

I’m genuinely offering you the opportunity to let me know how you’re stuck and get some advice from a professional (that’s me 😉 ) on how to get UNstuck.

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Christy Turner is the founder of DementiaSherpa.com (CTC Dementia Care Management) and has enjoyed the privilege of working with over 1,045 people living with dementia and their families. Follow on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Periscope, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube. Content varies daily across platforms.