Did you ever notice how we all crave for things to be certain? We avoid change like the plague. We love thinking that FINALLY, we found the way it’s going to be … I like it and I don’t want any change.
Funny, the most dramatic case of this is my life was when our son Zane was an infant. I was willing to do whatever he needed, of course, but it kept changing. As a young Mom, I would think, “Ok … I’ve got it now. He wakes up once a night at 2:00 and then goes back to bed until 6:00. I can plan around that.” Sure … that was good for about 2 days. And then it changed. I kept trying to figure it out.
But now, years later, I finally understand that things are always changing, even when we don’t realize it.
In our horse lives, when we first started riding, we just knew what we knew at that time. We thought we’d always ride the same horse … always be in the same barn … always go to the same shows.
But then, things changed. Our beloved horse got arthritis. The trainer moved. We were forced to take a break because of an accident, or financial reasons … or whatever.
And then we were on unsteady ground again.
As I continue to learn … and study great mentors in personal performance and personal growth, I have come to understand that those who continue to excel …even through change, have some things in common:
- They too are uncomfortable with change. But herein lies the difference: they don’t resist the change. They trust themselves and they trust their journey. They might say something to themselves like, “This is hard. I’m really sad … or maybe mad … but I’m strong.” So, when the trainer moves or you move away from your horsey friends, you know you will survive … and somehow find your way.
- Those who flow best with change believe there is some good that will come through the difficulty. Maybe they don’t know what it is, but they truly do believe it exists. They also know that only time and a willingness to see things that way will tell the tale. They don’t know how things will turn out … but again they trust their journey. This is a strong personal belief of mine. It has gotten me through some tough times in my personal life … or in my horse training life when a horse got sore … or a show didn’t go well for me … just to name a few.
- Next, those who flow best with change not only believe something good will come to pass … they actively look for it. For me, maybe not being able to ride one of my favorite horses, helped me see the good things in one of the other horses … things I had missed. For you, perhaps if you have to stop riding for a while, you can use that time to travel to big shows and watch … something you’ve wanted to do for years.
Yes … change is really hard … and it’s sad sometimes … and it almost always seems to kind of suck. But, after you grieve a bit (and give yourself time for that) … tell yourself that you are strong. Yes, you can survive. And yes, there is a gift in the misfortune. And when you’re ready … yes, go searching for it.
That’s what I have for you today. Scroll down and leave a comment for me. I would love that.
Although many families have slowly returned to the routines they followed before the COVID-19 pandemic began, your household may still be self-isolating. Perhaps one of your family members is an essential worker who does not want to risk spreading the virus, or maybe you have a child with a medical condition that makes them especially vulnerable to COVID-19. If your family has been in isolation for quite a while, you may be grappling with household tensions. Here are a few strategies to help you address the roots of these issues.
Lack of Physical Activity
Perhaps your family was quite active before the pandemic, but after a few months indoors, you’ve slowly slipped from practicing those wellness habits. A lack of exercise may have you all feeling grouchy, sluggish, and irritable. With a solid workout routine, you’ll be able to release the tension you’ve been feeling – just try to choose exercises your kids can keep up with! If you’ll be going outside, pack masks and go over the guidelines for wearing them with your kids, just in case. And if you’ve been indulging in comfort food and takeout throughout this pandemic, prioritize cooking healthy meals instead.
As a parent, you may be craving an opportunity to get away for a little while and get fit while you’re at it. A horseback riding retreat with the team at BeUnstoppable could be the perfect solution! Benefits abound—you’ll be able to enjoy the great outdoors, work out, and embrace a temporary change of pace.
Kick Boredom to the Curb
Despite your best efforts to keep your children entertained, boredom may have set in by now. Boredom can definitely contribute to rising household tensions, so it might be time to pick up a new family hobby that you can all enjoy together!
Consider giving online multiplayer gaming a try. Just make sure that you have a strong Internet connection to handle the demands. You may want to get your household hooked up with a fiber optic connection through a company like Verizon, which will boost your download speeds and ensure that you can enjoy smoother gameplay. Don’t forget to set some sensible screen time limits for your kids!
After spending so much time at home with little outside social interaction, your kids might be feeling lonely – and you can probably relate. Loneliness can definitely factor into household tensions. Maybe it’s time to add a little pizzazz to your usual video chats with friends and relatives! Try to incorporate fun games and interactive virtual activities into video chat sessions. This can help your kids feel like it’s a digital playdate.
Your children might feel sad about plans and opportunities they’ve missed out on because of the pandemic. That sadness can turn into anger. Parent Map states that it is important to validate your child’s feelings, even if they are having a meltdown. Taking a deep breath to soothe your own anxieties is also crucial!
Once you have helped your child calm down, you will often find they are upset about something and need some cheering up. AllProDad recommends giving plenty of hugs and encouragement, and compliment them on everything they’ve handled well since the beginning of the pandemic. Give them something to look forward to as well – talk about all of the fun plans you can make once it’s safe again!
The pandemic has tested families everywhere, and if you’ve been struggling to deal with rising tensions in your household, you are not alone! However, you do not have to resign yourself to living with these sources of stress going forward. With these tips, you’ll be able to make your family’s days feel a little brighter.
This article was submitted by Emma Grace Brown (Guest Author)
This week was the year anniversary of the passing of my dear friend, Audrey Griffin who so inspired me. Audrey was 82 when she passed. She was a member of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.
Thinking about the impact Audrey had on my life, reminded me to remind you about something very important in all of our lives.
That’s what this week’s video is all about.
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT AND COMMENT LINK:
Heh, it’s Barb.
You’ve probably heard me say that nothing happens on the outside of us until it happens on the inside of us first.
And just like learning the many different technical skills of riding (horsemanship, communicating with a horse, discipline-specific maneuvers, etc.)… learning mental and emotional skills for riding is exactly the same. There are many pieces and parts of the internal game of riding and high performance.
What we’re really doing when we learn the mental and emotional skills is unlocking our true potential.
One of those internal pieces is to understand the power of inspiration.
Somehow we know that being inspired is important. We all love to be inspired!
However, the work of Daniel Coyle brought to light the true impact of inspiration in our lives for me. As he studied great performers from all over the world in his research, he learned one thing they all had in common.
They each had someone (or maybe a couple of people) who Inspired them in this way. “If he or she can do it, I can do it!”
I’ve known about this power of inspiration for a while now, but I was reminded again about it this week.
It is the year anniversary of the passing of my dear friend, Audrey Griffin who so inspired me. Audrey was 82 when she passed. She was a member of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.
Audrey always made you feel like you were her best friend! Everybody felt like they were her best friend! We all felt loved by her.
I also admired her incredible character. (And she was a character, too!) She had a very generous spirit. She was clear about her thoughts. She knew (for her) what was right and what was wrong.
Plus she was quite the rider! As a young girl, she was a Roman Rider, which is how she got into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. And she never stopped riding!
At the age of 82, she still loved to go to the ranches in California and help the cowgirls and cowboys brand and rope.
In fact, she passed away on her own horse, loping across a ranch pasture. She had a heart attack.
When I think of Audrey, I am truly inspired to be a better person… to be a better rider… to live life to the fullest.
Her anniversary reminded me… to remind you… to think about the people who inspire you. Know that if he or she can do it, you can do it!
Keep bolstering a belief in yourself by looking to those people and to those sources of inspiration that resonate with you. Nourishing your spirit with inspiration is a power-packed way to help all of us keep unlocking our potential.
That’s my message for today. I hope you have a great day. I hope you have a great week. Let me know what you think in the comments.
The shows are really beginning to open up now. Hallelujah!
This quote so inspired me when I reread it this week, that I wanted to share my thoughts with you about showing. It’s one of my favorite quotes by Dr. Jim Loehr:
“When you ride, you’re deepening your sense of joy and appreciation for this opportunity with your horse. You’re learning so much about yourself and your horse. The whole thing is such a fabulous gift in your life. If you win great championships and if you win great medals, that’s just icing on the cake.”
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT AND COMMENT LINK:
Hey, it’s Barb.
I know that a lot of the shows are beginning to open up across the country. That’s so exciting!
If you compete, I also know you’re really happy about this because we’re all ready to get out. And showing is such a great opportunity to see your friends and have fun!
I want to take a few minutes today to just talk about competition a little bit. Here’s the thing.
We always think so much about competition in terms of how we and our horses compare to other people… and how were judged… and the results.
Black and white results are important, of course. I’m not minimizing that at all.
I do want to share a little research with you that I think is insightful. It might also be a little bit surprising to you.
When Dr. Loehr did his original performance research, which was all about performer skills and one’s ability to perform under pressure in any competitive arena… as time went on… he found that if certain athletes did do well, they felt they had to do well again… and again… and again. When their whole purpose was to achieve external results alone, they found themselves on a never-ending wheel of proving themselves. They had to continue to be the best, and never slip-up, at least in their minds!
That’s insatiable, really.
But what further research showed is that when athletes knew their personal values, that is they knew why they competed and they knew what was important to them. They knew they were becoming more as a person. They knew they were enjoying their friends. They knew each competition was an opportunity to put themselves on the line and stretch! Then, they were happier and kept growing personally.
So if we as riders have great challenges and things don’t work out very well in the show pen… we can still know that riding and showing a horse is an awesome gift in our lives. We can get up again and brush ourselves off and keep going and growing.
It really boils down to knowing and appreciating what a tremendous opportunity it is to show a horse beyond the end of the day results.
We can celebrate our friends. We can keep reaching for excellence, keep striving and keep learning.
Whether you win or whether you don’t win… whether you place or you don’t place, you can review your ride and evaluate all by your own scorecard. What did you do well, and what can you do better? What do you need to work on for the next time you show?
Reaching and learning and enjoying continues on forever. It never changes.
Most importantly, because of these fabulous ups and downs, through it all, as a person you are growing… and becoming… and experiencing!
Again, your friends, the horse you’re riding, and all of your adventures… these are what’s remembered and cherished.
That being said, go get ‘em and have a great time! Stay encouraged. Stay focused on your path. Keep reaching and improving. Measure all by your own scorecard.
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.