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.

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