Everything Success Requires

All that is required, is all that is ever required.

One of my mentors was fond of telling me that whenever I inquired about how she reached her success– and how I might do the same. It drove me nuts whenever she responded with that. I wanted benchmarks. Juicy stories from the trenches. Something. Anything but some platitude.

As I stake out my goals for 2019, those words have never been more lucid. I take the next step and do whatever is required. Then, I get to take THAT next step.

I want to like photos of myself in the saddle. I want to be proud of my seat, position, and effectiveness of the aids — my long-time achilles’ heel. I want to be a confident rider and to ride from the right side of my brain. The icing on the cake would be going down centerline at PSG at Global next winter.

No special saddle (even custom made) or amount of time in the saddle will bring me closer to my goals right now. With two pinched back nerves and a TON of fear in the saddle, it has got to be an inside-out, ground-up type of thing.

So I do the work: daily bodywork sessions (chiropractics, deep tissue massage, and starting Rolfing this week), daily Pilates reformer classes, additional stretching, and 2+ hours spent on ice packs. That is all for my pinched nerves and to help me bring my body in to better physical shape.

I also do the mental work– I meet with a therapist and a performance coach on a weekly basis. I listen to meditation tapes and journal daily.

Some of you reading this might think it’s overkill. For some readers implementing the same regime would be too much. Too many appointments, too much focus out of the saddle, not enough time IN the saddle.

Yet, it is EXACTLY what is required right now to take the next step to meet my goals.

All that is required is all that is EVER required. 😉

For most of the process, there are no benchmarks. Success is like an iceberg– most people only see the tip of it. The benchmarks can help you get to the tippy top of the iceberg, but first you have to scale the part that is underneath the water. There is no map for navigating that!

What is required for me to reach those goals is [most likely] quite a bit different than what would be required for you to meet those goals. We are all different so the requirements are different, even if the end is the same.

What is required for you to take the next step?

The Re-build

I shattered recently.

And by shattered, I mean that my self-confidence and belief in my own riding abilities shattered. For as much as I have spoken here (and elsewhere) about overcoming fear in the saddle and pushing back fear thresholds — I am presently living it.

As with anything else in life, be it a relationship or a skill set in the corporate world, there is an account that is either being put into or drawn from.

In my case, my riding account become overdrawn within a period of 24 hours.

I had one ride where I didn’t feel fully emotionally (or physically) secure, followed the next day on a different horse I didn’t feel confident on.

That was it. That was all it took to shut the party down for me. With fear of getting hurt being greater than my love of riding, I dismounted and haven’t mounted since.

During this time, I haven’t quit horses or left the horse world– not by a long shot. Rather, I am playing the long game with my riding, by taking a step back and re-building my mental and physical foundation for being in the saddle by doing the following:

  1. I sought out a therapist. In this case, I specifically sought out one that was NLP-certified to help me work through subconscious fears that are hijacking my riding.
  2. I gave myself permission NOT to ride and to feel into whatever emotions came up rather than repress them.
  3. I allowed myself to dream new dreams. For many of us driven-equestrian types, it can be easy to push through and do whatever needs to be done — for the horse(s) each day and to bring us closer to our goals. Instead of continuing down that path, I spent time journaling around “What am I holding onto that is preventing me from being open and curious about something greater than I could possibly imagine?” and “What am I missing out on because I expect things to be a certain way?”
  4. Staying in shape through yoga, pilates and walking several miles up hills every day. I’m also continuing to see my chiropractor and massage therapist to stay in good physical shape during this time.

How are you playing the long game with your riding? Are there areas you are neglecting where you are playing a short game rather than a long one?