You Are Not Creating The Results You want In Life Because Your Self-Worth Is Still Tied Up In Them.

You want something? You better not get your identity tangled up in having it. The things you want in your life– the relationships, the sponsors, the money, the horses, the car, the accolades– all of those are accessories. Can you image walking around with your favorite helmet (or top hat, if you still wear them) and earrings sutured onto you? How awkward and cumbersome! How stifling of your personal expression!

Yet, you do it all the time with titles, accolades, sponsors, fame.

The results you create in your life do not define you. You are not a better person, a more special person, a more worthy person, a more notable person because you reached a certain benchmark. Your results are separate from you– just like your earrings and helmet.

The faster you embrace this, the faster the things you DO want in your life come into it. Express who you are with those things, but don’t attach them onto you. They are only… “things.”

Instead, focus on the things that matter– who you BE and how you touch those around you. Those are the only things worth having. You can’t adorn yourself with them because they come from within. As you allow them to come forth, the other things you wanted will come to you– not because you sought them out and made them part of your identity, but because you chose to adorn yourself with them– like a great pair of opal and diamond teardrop earrings.

What are you waiting for?

But what if you WERE worthy?

A talented up-and-coming rider shared with me his fears this morning about being taken apart in front of 2,000 spectators by a highly decorated rider giving a clinic. As he explained, another capable rider he looked up to had been dismantled by this clinician some time before.

After the conversation, it struck me how interesting it was that I was having nearly the exact same conversation with this person as I had with a software founder I coached about getting into an accelerator– and that I had with a friend about being invited to be in the same room as a bunch of self-made millionaires!

Different scenarios yet one common thread: all were invited to participate in these invite-only experiences, and yet all of us felt unworthy. That there was some mistake made and that would would all be found out a fraud, after all.

There is only one question to clip the talons of this fear: But what if you WERE worthy? What if there was no mistake, and you are EXACTLY the right person. What then?

Most of us find we have nowhere to hide.

We are left with no other excuse, except to step up and swing the bat as hard as we can.

Marianne Williamson has right — we are more afraid of our success than our failures. Or to put it a differently, we are more afraid of our light than our darkness.

Being in the room with a group of successful entrepreneurs propelled my professional life to new heights.

What are you shrinking back from in your life because you feel unworthy?

Maybe you have also been invited to participate in some event you feel unworthy to take part in. Maybe it’s a new relationship or a professional opportunity opened up.

Play with me here: Suspend your beliefs about your situation. [I know it’s difficult and seems impossible. Try anyways.] What if you WERE worthy, and that it was exactly what you needed to take your career or life to new heights? What would be possible then? What would you be doing?

Feel free to drop a note — I’d love to hear what comes up for you on this one.

Are your excuses bigger than your dreams?

I had many reasons to skip out on the appointment my friend made for me to try horses at a top barn.

–> I could have slept in, claiming I was too tired to get up that early.

–> I could have said it was too cold to go that far, especially since I had left my shell jacket behind.

–> I could have let fear get the better of me, saying I wasn’t enough of a rider to see those horses (let alone try them).

–> I could have said that since 2 of them were so far out of my budget it wasn’t funny and there was no way in &*(^ I’d ever be able to afford them, that it would be a waste of everyone’s time seeing them.

–> I could have also said that there was no way I’d be able to get home from the barn and no way I’d walk to town (~2mi) in my (pull-on) tall boots.

Or– I could look at the appointment as a gift to make a new connection and maybe see a good horse.

I pulled on my breeches and boots and called an Uber.

(Yes, I did end up walking the ~2mi to town in my tall boots to call my Uber home. But it was worth every step.)

We self-sabotage ourselves far more frequently than we realize.

We look at ourselves and get caught up in the stories about the muchness and many-ness of our own self-worth and how we think others perceive us, that we so often miss the point of it all: we show up and push through the discomfort because there is someone waiting for us to step up and show it can be done.

The best thing that I did for myself last year had nothing to do with horses– it was to surround myself with people committed to playing bigger.

Watching my mentors take risk after risk pushed me to do the same.

Choosing the gift of the appointment over my insecurities brought an even larger gift with it: the new fuel of seeing what is possible and within reach.

Just like watching my mentors take risks invites me to do the same, the risks you take free the people around you to also step up in their lives.

Who is needing you to step up in you life, to choose not to settle in some area or to see you conquer your fears?

The next “stretch” decision you make may be the push someone else needs to take that risk they are running from.

P.S. — By the way, a deal was just worked out for one of the “impossible” horses I tried in that appointment. What you want IS closer than you think.

Are You In the Room With the Right People?

Do whatever it takes to put yourself in the room with them.

Tonight, looking around the table at dinner, I realized I had done it: I had created the same environment for myself in business as I had in other areas of my life.

Many years ago, I realized that in order to be the type of rider I wanted to be, I needed to put myself in the arena with the type of riders who were already doing what I wanted to be doing. I realized that it was better to be a fly on the wall–absorbing everything in those barns– than to be top dog at some lesser training barn and work my way up in the sport, going from barn to better barn.

I learned far, far more than training techniques: with the barn came a set of expectations for performance, for quality of horses, for level of care and how things would just run. My learning curve was steep. I cried many, many more tears than I’d ever care to admit. But I did learn and I did rise. At some point being a fly on the wall morphed into riding the horses no one else wanted, which soon became keeping the top horses fit when their main rider was away, and then into being asked questions about my own training approach and getting top horses of my own to train.

About a year or so ago, I realized that the same principle held true in other areas of my life, whether it was in entrepreneurship or another aspect of business. Looking around the table tonight at dinner last night, I realized I had done it: I had put myself a table with a bunch of successful, self-made entrepreneurs the same way I had put myself in a barn with top riders. I have lots to learn, but I’m at the table.

Who is it that you need to be in the room with to help propel you to the next level of growth?

I challenge you today to identify and reach out to 3 people that are noted for achieving success in an area you’d like to grow in. Tell them how much you admire their success in a particular area and open the door to have a mutually beneficial relationship with them. See where it goes!


Trust yourself. (But test always.)

The most important journey I am on as a rider is learning to trust myself.

Trust that I can keep my center of gravity above the horse’s center of gravity.

Trust that I know what to do to improve the horse and trust that my instincts are correct.

The former I learned through lots of seat work, of riding without stirrups and having my bio mechanics picked apart and put back together, but mostly through a many almost-flying lessons (and few flying lessons).

The latter I began to learn from a sales horse I was assigned to ride. He was a small tour horse and one of the first FEI horses I got to ride. But boy, was it a steep learning curve.

Up until I rode that horse, many people had told me I was an ineffective rider.

That gelding would mess with me.

I would ask him to do something, say a half pass. He’d start out fine, but a few strides in he’d test the boundaries.

He would sit on my leg. He would stop going sideways. He’d lose the forward. He’d grab the bit.

I hate to say it– most of the time he had me.

I’d apply my aids on to correct him. He’d give a half-hearted response, or barely one at all. I took it.

I settled for 5s and 6s, content just to be doing the movement *at all* (again, one of my first FEI schoolmasters, here). He’d thought he’d hit the jackpot.

Until the day my instructor decided to teach me half-steps on him. She assisted me at first, and he gave them at first. But as she stepped away and had me try them on my own– that’s when things went sideways.

He sat on my leg. I kicked, but couldn’t keep him connected over his topline. He trotted off.

I kept him over his topline. He sat on my leg. I kicked. That 17.1h gelding went straight up, high-ho silver style on me.

The very next day I learned to ride effectively.

I learned that to be successful with this horse, I needed to provide mental stimulation, not just physical exercise. I learned that I needed to ride him at the top of HIS game, rather than at the top of mine.

I learned to focus on the response he gave when I applied my aids and not settle for half-hearted responses. I learned to ride pro-actively, to change things every few strides so he stayed on his toes.

Most of all, I learned I needed to trust myself and rely on my intuition. I learned I need to sense when he needed change and where I need to test HIS limits.

The voice on the ground didn’t always have all of the answers. But I do, if I listen and trust myself.

How much do YOU trust yourself?