The shows are really beginning to open up now. Hallelujah!
Hey, it’s Barb.
Staying home for the past few weeks has given me, probably like you, some time to reflect.
There are a couple of powerful ideas that are central to personal performance training that not only work with our horses but also in our daily lives. I want to share them here with you.
But first, I want to take a moment to thank the health care workers, the grocery store clerks and all those who are the true heroes on the front lines of this pandemic. I also think we need to thank their families. It’s worrisome and exhausting for everyone. They are the ones who are putting themselves in harm’s way for us. I can only imagine how hard that must be… so thank you all.
The challenge is that now (because we have no idea how to handle a pandemic), we have unsettling emotions wash over us. We often have no idea what to do with.
We feel vulnerable. That’s never comfortable.
The first idea I want to share from my personal performance training is becoming aware of our own emotions… our own energy state… and then choosing how we will respond to how we feel at any moment in time.
If we find ourselves in a state of emotion that does not serve us, we truly have the power to change it.
It’s a practice. We’re all a work in progress.
It’s not to say that not feeling nervous or fearful or vulnerable is the goal. That would be impossible. We all experience all kinds of emotions all across the board many times throughout every day with our horses and of course, during these current times.
But I think these vulnerabilities and unsteady feelings give us opportunities to develop qualities that serve us well in riding and in living.
The first is self-awareness.
When we ride, and now, we make it a priority to tune into our own emotions on a regular basis. For example, we get grounded before we get on. We get present in the moment with our horse. We take a breath and leave the rest of the world behind.
The way it works in our everyday lives is that we notice how we are feeling. We lean into it. We are aware and then we make a choice of how to respond.
The second step is to respond first with calmness. In riding, breathing consistently for the goal of being in a state wherein you can make the best choices possible, sets you up for success.
Next, talk to yourself to either let mistakes go or coach yourself through what you need to do. These two tools are truly so empowering.
In these times, when feelings I’ve never experienced before wash over me, I notice them. I do my best to lean into them… and breathe. I have some favorite go-to quotes or scripture verses… or I decide if the fear I feel requires action, I’ll do my best to take that action… or will I just let the feelings wash through me?
I don’t just believe, I know, that as we lean into our vulnerabilities, whether it’s with our horses to make a prettier lead change, or lean into challenges in our lives that we never dreamt would happen… we can take a moment, get calm and then decide on our next best steps.
Every time we do this simple process, we set ourselves up to choose thoughts and actions that empower us and then find solutions.
Let me know what you think about this three-step process of becoming self-aware, cultivating calmness and then making choices.
Blessings to you and stay safe, dear friends.
It was a chilly and wet day in South Texas. So I decided to take a trail ride.
I was thinking about what separates people regarding those who maintain confidence and succeed, and those who don’t.
This article has the tales of two athletes that tell that story.
I heard a story when I first went to a seminar at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Florida.
It was about a young tennis star who had come there for ‘mental skills’ training. And she went to the right place because HPI is where they train Olympic and Professional athletes how to perform under intense pressure.
When she arrived, she was 50th in the world standings. She studied and was coached… and within a relatively short time, she rose to #1.
And then, she thought she had the mental skills thing down pat and stopped training in them. Within an even shorter time, she fell back to 25th in the ranking.
The moral of the story is what separates people from everyone else is studying top brass information, getting coached and then applying it… and getting better and better and better… over and over and over again.
There’s always another layer to learn and to apply to all kinds of situations.
Great riders in the arena are often separated by their desire to keep polishing and polishing their skills… and also envision what’s possible for them. They also keep at it. They don’t think they’ve arrived. They don’t compare themselves to other riders, either.
Here’s another great example. I live in a football world at my house this time of year, but because I’m not a football fanatic, a lot of things wash right over me.
But I did hear an interview with a famous quarterback who has one of the best winning records in all of football. They asked if he was excited about a win that just happened. He said, “Yes, but what I really want to do is get back and review the video to see why I missed that one pass.”
He didn’t say it in a self-defeating way. He truly wanted to figure it out so he could get better. His whole approach was to keep happily studying and polishing. He did own his greatness, and he did love the results of his team, but he was all about putting together all of the pieces of the puzzle… and getting better and better.
You see, the tennis player didn’t have that mindset … the way of thinking and feeling that the quarterback has… at least not at that time of her career years ago.
I’m not being critical of her… I’m just saying that one of the things that separates everyone, including riders, is a desire for excellence, perseverance, and understanding that it’s a forever journey to keep growing.
And if you do this with what you love… like we love horses… it’s a blast.
How you think and feel about yourself, your riding, your horse, and other people are skills that can be and need to be practiced. Those who practice them indefinitely, separate themselves from others.
Can you relate?
Leave a comment for me. Do you think that excellence, perseverance, and loving your journey are good ingredients for a great recipe for fun and success?
And by the way, because part of excellence is learning about your horse and being relaxed… connection with him or her happens all by itself when you study these skills.