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!
How often do you struggle when you ride, trying to fix something about your position or something that you do?
Quite often, I bet! Now ask yourself, when you are trying so hard to fix something in you, how much focus do you have on what is happening with your horse? Maybe not so much? Hmmmm…..interesting thought to ponder, isn’t it?
Now don’t beat yourself up for this as it happens quite a bit. In fact, shifting the focus from the rider to the horse is the main theme when I teach riders in lessons and clinics. It’s not because I care more about horses than riders. It is because once a rider begins to focus on the horse’s way of going, performance and connection there will be improvement in both the rider and the horse. You may be thinking, why is this the case?
When a rider only focuses on themselves their ride becomes separate from the horse underneath them.
This often leaves a rider locked up trying hard to maintain position. Their minds are totally focused on themselves and they are not listening to the horse through their body and mind and thus they have no feel. In this case, horses can become unbalanced, crooked, numb or resistant. Just think about how you feel when you are the recipient of a one sided conversation. It’s not so much fun is it?
Moving focus to how the horse is going, as far as their straightness, impulsion, rhythm and balance, helps a rider begin to relax. Riders begin to let go of the worry about fixing themselves and pay more attention to creating the best ride in their horse. The focus is now on having a two sided conversation with the horse, where the rider listens and then responds thoughtfully to what the horse is telling them. To best create a positive two sided conversation, riders should first educate themselves on horse anatomy, movement, behavior and balance. They should understand what the ideal horse is, as well as what the best way of going should be. Then they need to understand that no horse is perfect, just as no rider is. They are all individuals, so horses need to be ridden as such. A single horse can be different on different days.
If rider focus is only on themselves there will be no awareness of what is happening with the horse they are on in any given moment.
In my clinics I have been developing a way of teaching to shift the rider’s focus to the horse. I ask riders questions about horse anatomy and way of going in general and then I ask about their horse in particular. Many riders struggle to answer my questions. It’s not because they don’t care or that they don’t work hard. It’s because their focus has been somewhat myopic. What is so interesting is that rider confidence grows as the focus begins to shift to the horse. They get out of their own way and start to have fun paying attention to the horse and making the corrections needed to improve the overall ride. At the same time, horses generally improve their way of going and are happier. The rider’s position begins to correct itself organically when the focus turns to using position to connect with the horse and to make regular subtle corrections as needed.I am not saying that good work on position shouldn’t happen.
But,understand why the great riding masters of the past came up with the equitation that we do today.
It was to get the best and most pleasing ride from the horse. It was not developed to look pretty on top of the horse. A connected and feeling rider will look good on a horse, as the whole picture is unified, balanced and fluid. Certainly study how a correct position creates the best ride and work on self-improvement. But don’t do this without always keeping your connection to the horse at the front of your mind. So study the horse just like those great masters did. Be more mindful of your horses and what they need from you to be their best. Always be curious, ask questions and continue to learn and grow. Shift more focus from you to your horse. You will become a better rider for it!
I often write about change and how to embrace it instead of pushing it away.
This month I want to share that I am planning on making some changes with The Mindful Equestrian, both in its branding, approach and offerings.
In my other job as a business counselor I encourage and support clients not to be afraid to make changes in their business and that it is good to be open and pay attention to what clients may want and need.
I also encourage clients to not wait until something like their website, business cards, social media pages, etc. is perfect before they launch. The need to be perfect blocks any kind of forward motion. You need to get in the trenches and try things and then see what works and what needs to be changed. This is the same with riding. If you wait until you are “perfect” before you go to a show or do whatever goal you desire, you will stay right where you are and never move forward.
This will be the 4th revision of my website and a continuation of many smaller changes I have done along the way. I am doing this, as I want to make it easy for you to find what you need from The Mindful Equestrian’s offerings and that those offerings are what will serve you best.
I am still in the planning stage of this. I would like to ask you for feedback on what type of offerings and services you would like.
My plans right now are to more clearly define the different type of clients I serve. Right now I see that as:
1. IEA and IHSA team riders.
2. Adult riders past college age.
3. Trainers, instructors and other professionals.
4. People seeking life/career coaching.
There will be also business coaching designed just for equine related businesses.
Under each category I will offer:
1. Some simple and easy to use course offerings and resources.
2. One on one coaching by phone
3. Group coaching, classes and mastermind groups all by phone.
4. Some combination of teleclasses, group and one on one coaching.
5. Clinics, talks and workshops will still be available.
I plan on incorporating Facebook groups with many of these offerings so you can all connect with group members.
Please send me any feedback in the comments or by email at email@example.com as to topics you would like offered around performance coaching, life coaching and business coaching. Also, let me know what you think about the different client categories and coaching formats. I am very open to suggestions as I would like to tailor what I do for your needs.
I will be looking forward to hearing from you! I am so excited about the change!
A few years ago,when I was doing my coaching certification program, I wrote this short article on the wonderful lessons found in children’s literature. These lessons can be applied to any part of life, including riding. I thought I would share this now. If you ave favorite quotes from children’s literature I would love it if you shared it in the comments below. Enjoy!
“You’ve always had the power, my dear. You’ve had it all along.”
– Glenda, the good witch (The Wizard of Oz)
I have seen this quote a few times when someone shared it on Facebook and each time I read it I love its simplicity and how it is really what the coaching relationship is all about. I like it so much I have it saved in my business folder as I want to use it as part of my coaching model or power tool.
It was just shared again recently and it made me think about how many profound quotes there are from all types of literature that relate to coaching. Though coaching has not been a formal practice for many years, wise literary minds from history often pondered on life’s purpose and our potential if we just tap into it. They write great life lessons with their words reminding us that we need to be authentic and if we are, we have all the power we need to live our best, most wonderful lives.
What intrigues me the most is that authors of children’s and adolescent literature often send out the message to children that they should be true to themselves and that they have all they need to live an amazing life. This interested me so much that I went on a search for more quotes. Here are a few:
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
“Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”
“The Moment Where You Doubt You Can Fly, You Cease For Ever Being Able To Do It.”
“You have plenty of courage, I am sure,” answered Oz. “All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.”
― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
“The things that make me different are the things that make me.”
– A.A. Milne
Those are just a few of a myriad of profound, coaching related quotes from children’s books. Winnie the Pooh is full of them. So much so that Benjamin Hoff wrote “The Tao of Pooh” (a favorite book of mine) using “Winnie The Pooh” to explain Taoism to Westerners.
Children often get these wonderful messages from the books they read (that is if reading is a priority in their young lives…). Unfortunately throughout life they also get many different messages that create negative underlying beliefs. They are told to become someone they are not and often do so in order to fit in. That is unfortunate. But that is where our role as a coach becomes important. We have a mission to remind our clients of those beautiful messages from their children’s stories and that they can live their most authentic, best life.
I would recommend to anyone who reads this, to Google quotes from their favorite children’s stories and listen to the messages they deliver. Read the “Tao of Pooh” and see the simplicity and beauty of the wisdom of all of the characters in the book.