Work through physical fear and gain more confidence.
Recently I did a one question survey on Facebook and asked riders what their biggest block to confidence in riding was. I had several choices including fear of making mistakes, fear of being judged by others, self- judgment and physical fear. Physical fear was the most chosen response, with fear of making a mistake next. I did not ask people their age, sex, or riding level. So I can’t talk about specific groups and compare them. But that doesn’t really matter for this post, as what I want to discuss are some ways to work through physical fear and gain more confidence.
Fear prevents us from making foolish and dangerous choices.
The first thing to understand about fear is we all have it and it serves a purpose. Fear prevents us from making foolish and dangerous choices. You may wish that you were fearless, but if you were, you would probably do things that would get you hurt when riding. So use the fear to help you rationally decide if you are doing something you are not prepared to do. Remember, I said “rationally decide.” What often happens is our fears can overtake us and become very big in our minds through the scary stories we tell ourselves. Often we snowball our fear because there has been a bad experience in our past or because we are not as strong a fit as we used to be and we have more responsibilities to consider in our lives. The responsibility to care for others and bring in our livelihood from a career or business becomes bigger as we age. Not being as brave a rider as you were when you were younger because you have these responsibiities has very valid justification. Fear because of a bad experience is also justified and needs to be worked through without self-judgment.
Be honest with yourself.
It’s best to try and understand your fears when you are off the horse. Mediation, journaling, walks in nature, talking to a friend or coach are some ways you can use to discover what is driving the fear. When you can understand it and lean into the fear and really study it the fear begins to loosen its grip on you. Be honest with yourself. Are you reaching for goals that are beyond your abilities? Do you spend enough time in preparation and practice for you and your horse? Is it time to give yourself permission to lower your expectations and/or ask for help from others?
Understand the best program for your horse.
It is important to understand the best program for your horse in order to have the horse quiet and ready to give you the best ride. Pay attention to the differences in your horse during different seasons and with or without turnout or a lunge. If for some reason your horse has been in more than usual, and you can’t do a turn out or a lunge, have someone more experienced ride your horse first and prepare him/her for you. Don’t get into self-judgment around this. It is a smart thing to do. If you have fear of jumping or doing more advanced exercises start small as you practice with good flat work preparation and training for both you and your horse. If your horse is green you can practice on a made horse while your trainer or someone else works with your green horse. Then you can apply what you have learned on the made horse to your well prepared green horse.
Take the pressure off yourself and enjoy your riding in this moment.
When it comes to jumping, start doing poles, cavalletti and small jumps once you are well prepared on the flat and then begin to do more complicated courses with bigger jumps. But only do so when you are ready. If for some reason you or your horse have had a setback or time off, give yourself permission to go back to basics and move slowly. Most of the time accidents happen when things are rushed or when we want to do more before we are ready or prepared. If you have a bit of doubt in your head before you do something, stop and take a breath and think about what is happening. Are you spinning a story that has gotten out of control, or is the doubt or fear very rational and telling you that this is something you shouldn’t do? If so, maybe it is just for that day, because you have too many things on your mind. Maybe you need to practice more or maybe it is something that will always be beyond your reach. That is okay. Don’t compare yourself or your progress to others. Each of us has to progress at our own rates and be satisfied with being “good enough.” Take the pressure off yourself and enjoy your riding in this moment. Understand that you won’t get rid of fear, but you can with practice, mindfulness, and an honest rational plan loosen fear’s grip.
I know that people are often unsure as to the benefits of one on one coaching, so I thought I would write a brief blog article on the subject.
I support and guide the client in discovery around what the client wants to achieve.
First, I want to explain what a one on one coaching session is like. I do mine over the phone or on Skype or Zoom. A session can be done just by audio, or with audio and video. It is whatever the client prefers. The sessions are 60 mins long and the client is the one who decides what the session will be about and I support and guide the client in discovery around what the client wants to achieve. Then at the end of each session the client and I will agree upon a plan of action for the client that will take place before the next session. I help the client hold themselves accountable to that plan. I am also available between sessions to answer a reasonable amount of emails. That is a general overview as to what a Mindful Equestrian coaching session is like.
With my support, the client then creates a road map for the change that they want to make.
This is what coaching can achieve in the long term. As a coach, I help clients find tools so they can become more aware of their mental blocks, underlying beliefs and strengths and weaknesses. I support my clients in finding clarity around what they want to change and where they want to go. I explain that research has shown that the brain is plastic and it can be rewired to change old perspectives, beliefs and habits with time, hard work and planning. With my support, the client then creates a road map for the change that they want to make. I encourage them to get unstuck and take action on their plan. As their coach, I support them through the ups and downs of their journey, holding them accountable when they get discouraged and encouraging them to keep moving forward, even if roadblocks are in the way.
Coaching helps to get clients unstuck, gain confidence and create a solid plan of action.
It is the combination of finding awareness, clarity and getting unstuck that really helps a client develop better metal focus and confidence in their riding. Often, without coaching support, people will do one of two things. They will either blast forward without a plan and waste time, money and energy going in the wrong direction or at the wrong pace, or they will stay stuck in inaction, due to some underlying fear or lack of confidence. Coaching helps to get clients unstuck, gain confidence and create a solid plan of action. Through the whole process the client is the one in charge of their discovery, plan and course of action. They are in the driver’s seat. I am there to help them with support, guidance and encouragement.
Get one of my 3 one on one coaching packages at a 15% discount!!!
The 2019 riding season is here and I want to offer you the opportunity get one of my 3 one on one coaching packages at a 15% discount!!! This offer lasts until April 15th. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 315-427-9498 to get your free 30 minute discovery call! Learn more here. https://mindfulequestrian.com/coaching-packages/
I realized how much the short walk had benefited me…..
I just got back from a mid-morning walk on a sunny winter day. I didn’t get the best night’s sleep last night and was feeling a bit unmotivated and stuck around updates I want to make with my business and on my website. So I decided to let go of the struggle and go outside for a walk. The sun and the fresh air immediately began to clear the cobwebs in my brain. And by the time I was heading home, I had all sorts of ideas and clarity as to how I want to proceed with my business changes and my website updates. The added bonus was I had no plans to do a blog today, but as I walked in the door I realized how much the short walk had benefited me and I had to share.
This practice can be used to help you become more clear and confident in any part of your life, including with your riding…..
I often talk about getting outside in nature as part of a mindfulness practice. It really does help me to let go of my worries and become more present and clear headed. This practice can be used to help you become more clear and confident in any part of your life, including with your riding. If you have had a busy day and are heading out to the barn to ride, take a moment to go on a short walk, if the weather allows. It will help you let go of your busy day and become more present for your ride. If you don’t have time to take a walk or the weather is bad, slow down and really connect to the process of grooming and tacking your horse. That will have the same benefit of bringing you into the present and connecting to the task at hand.
A nice walk after you ride can also help you to understand what worked and what didn’t….
A nice walk after you ride can also help you to understand what worked and what didn’t in your ride. You can take that time to learn from your mistakes and focus on what went well. Then once back from your walk, you can jot down all your thoughts in a journal to help you keep track of your plans and your riding progress. Whenever you feel stuck in any area of your life, just get up and talk a walk or do something different for a short time that you enjoy and that takes you away from your worries. You will be amazed at how you will find clarity, make plans and be able to move forward towards your goals!
Mindfulness can be used in any area of your life, including in your business.
I am excited to now offer business coaching/consulting for equestrians. This will be geared to equestrian professionals who have businesses in the horse industry, as well as for amateur equestrians who own and run businesses in other fields. My background in both the equine industry and business coaching gives me a unique insight and understanding of what it is like to have a passion for horses and a passion for business. So, this is my first post around business coaching. I still have to get things changed and added to my website. But as I tell my clients who are entrepreneurs, “Don’t wait until things are perfect to get started with new ideas. You will never get started that way, as there is no such thing as perfection”.
Yes, everyone in business should have a business plan……
One of the first ways an entrepreneur can apply mindfulness in starting and running a business is to create a business plan. Yes, everyone in business should have a business plan, whether they want to apply for funding or not. Entrepreneurs need to create a plan and analyze their business as carefully as a bank would, because any business owner will be investing money and time in the enterprise. It is important to decide if the business will be viable and to create the best plan to enable the most success. Business plans can be as short as one page or a few or long and detailed. It really just depends on the type of business and what the plan needs to accomplish.
Many entrepreneurs dig in their heels when it comes time to do a business plan, as they don’t like doing that type of work. They love to offer and create the products and services that is driven by their passion. But to be truly successful in business, many things must be done that have nothing directly to do with the product or service the business offers. The business plan is at the top of the list for the must do’s for any business to be successful.
A good plan states the vision statement, mission statement, structure and products or services of the business. It explains the problem that the business will solve for the customer. A plan also details market research to study competitors and potential customers and pricing. This determines if there is a need for this business model and if it can make it financially. Once that is determined, the plan also describes the unique customer (avatar) in detail. It is important to know who they are, where they hang out, both in reality and virtually, and what their interests and needs are. This is important to know for marketing, communication and pricing. The plan also should include detailed marketing and financial plans and projections. There should be strategies laid out for growth over time, with benchmarks along the way, as well as a SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis. Every business plan should also have a list of its team structure including, attorneys, accountants, insurance agents, bankers, mentors and collaborators.
Don’t feel boxed in by a business plan.
The mindful part of doing a business plan is the sitting down, being in the moment and strategically researching and creating a map for the business’s future. Many entrepreneurs start businesses with minimal planning and organization. They are excited about the service or product they have to offer and go headlong into spending money and time in unstructured ways as they start the business. This often leads to failure. Don’t feel boxed in by a business plan. It is a fluid, living document that can and should change through time. If you are thinking of starting a business be mindful to have a plan and if you have started your business without one, it is not too late to create one now. If you feel overwhelmed by this or need accountability and you would like help contact me to set up a free 30 minute session to see if business coaching/consulting is right for you.
Change can be so scary for many reasons. Underlying beliefs can prevent us from moving forward into change and from continuing the process of change when things get tough. I know this from my own experience. I have made many changes in my life, so I am not a stranger to change. I have learned over the years to be thoughtful about major changes and not just jump into something because I want to move away from something I don’t like. I have also recognized that I default to my comfortable place when a change I have made seems to be getting risky, scary or tough. Looking back, I realize that sometimes that has prevented me from some potentially wonderful opportunities, if I had just stuck with it. But I have also learned it is best not to attach myself to regrets, but instead use those experiences as lessons to help me move forward in the present. Letting go of regret is hard work but worth the effort. It is an up and down process but each time you can let go it gets easier the next time.
Successful change is a process, not a reaction.
It’s important not to jump into change. You should really do some self-reflection and understand what is going on and where you truly want to go. First you need to create an awareness around what it is you want to change. Then it’s time to discover your blocks to change. What are the underlying beliefs that are preventing you from moving forward? Is it a fear of failure, lack of confidence, a need for perfection, worry about the judgment of others or a need to always be in control? These are just a few of the beliefs that can block you from change.
Once you gain the awareness around your blocks you can then begin to change those beliefs. Understand that this is your path, it’s nobody else’s. Your path may look very different than others and that is okay. Don’t follow a path just because that is what you think will please those around you. Discover what your mindset its and what about it that may be preventing you from moving into change. Also realize that you can shift your mind and thinking. The science of neuroplasticity has discovered that the brain can change it’s default thought patterns if you are willing to work hard at creating new beliefs. I will do a follow up post on neuroplasticity and mindsets and go into it in more detail. But for now, just know that it is possible to change your thought patterns.
Create a mindfulness practice.
Creating a mindfulness practice through meditating, journaling, walking in nature, cooking, gardening or some other reflective quiet practice can help you find that awareness and clarity as to where it is you want to go. These quiet times are when you can look at yourself without judgment. Just lean in and look. Discover what is going on and what beliefs and habits you would like to change. Find the path that is right for you.
Putting it into action.
Begin to define where it is you want to go and what it is you want to do. Create an intention about how you want to live going forward. What is so nice about creating intentions is that they are a way of being more than dong. They don’t have an endpoint. You want to create definable goals as well. But understand that some goals may not be achieved at all, they may change significantly or your timeline to your goals may move as you go along. That is okay. That is why change is a process. It’s fluid. There will be ups and downs and surprises. But if you create a vision for what you want, a road map for where you want to go and an intention for how you will walk through life as you move along your path you will able to manage any roadblocks that come along. You will prepared for them ahead of time.
Where in your life do you want to make change?
This process can be applied to any area of your life. You may want to make a change in your riding, your career, your business or your day to day life. The process of being mindful and more aware will begin to give you clarity around what it is you would like to change and what type of change is most important to you. Remember this is your path. Don’t let the judgment of others or self-judgment prevent you from going where you truly want to go. This doesn’t mean you can’t have mentors and teachers or get feedback from others. Use the advice you get to help you find the path to change that is right for you. Take the advice that works a let go of what doesn’t.
Coaching can support you through change.
I find passion in supporting others as they find their best path to being their best self. I am excited to announce that I will be starting another coaching business that will compliment The Mindful Equestrian and also stand on its own. It will be called Create Your Path to Change. I will be focusing my coaching on adult equestrians, equestrian entrepreneurs and equestrians who want to create change in their careers and lives. I will be happy to coach non equestrians, but this will be my focus to start. My background in the equestrian world, coaching, education and business counseling is a unique blend of experience that I hope can be of benefit to many! This process of change for me is still in its infancy and I am now in the middle of creating my road map for the future. I know I will be offering one on one coaching still, but I am also planning some exciting group coaching offerings that will make coaching more affordable. But the best part about group coaching is the knowledge and experience that the whole group can bring to the sessions.
I am so excited about this new direction! Part of the process of getting through the scary part of change, is that once you have decided to make a change and you know where you are heading, is to be able to say it out loud to the world. So here it is! I am facing my fears and announcing this to you! There is still much to do. So keep checking in. I hope you will join me and Create Your Path to Change!