As I sit here having returned from 4 days away at Zone PC Jamboree I am reflecting on what has been a great opportunity for me to practice ‘bringing myself back to balance” and helping my children do the same.
This term is something I use in relation to virtually everything. It is finding the balance between yin and yang, high and low, lots or none. It is important in riding, horsemanship, healthy eating, healthy habits, emotional intelligence and virtually everything in between.
With nearly 200 riders competing for a few handfuls of ribbons there is inevitably going to be winners and losers when it comes to results. We can throw the expression “It’s not about winning, but having a go” around until we are red in the face, but what does is really mean?
For me personally, there is more to it than just having a go. Otherwise we would all only try just enough to get by and not strive for excellence. I am a firm believer in Theodore Roosevelt’s quote
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
The gladiator in the ring didn’t just wander on in and have a bit of a go. He dared greatly.
Records get broken by daring to dream. Without failure and then persistence and grit we would never to get to see what is really achievable for a human body and spirit.
Competition is important - it keeps us pushing through the hard days and knock backs just to do better that you did the time before. It drives us to continue on a journey even through uncertainty and fear. It gives us something to keep moving towards. I am up for all of that. Every last little piece of it - but my emotional state is not dependent on the outcome.
As I think over the week with my children, there were many ups and downs. Heartbreaks and highs. I had to keep reminding myself not to get caught up in the emotion of the experience or hold onto it for any length of time.
Whether it was a rail at the last fence, dropping a peg or missing out on the jump off by one time penalty, the kids were disappointed. Thats OK. They had goals, and they had dreams. That particular dream didn’t come to fruition but that’s OK. It was not a time for me to tell them what they did wrong or make them feel unworthy but it was also not a time for me to try and make them feel better by making excuses or giving them something else to think about.
All I could do for them was to say “Yep, that sucked. I’m feeling with you”
I gave them a hug and let them feel the emotion and then let it pass when they were ready. If given the space to do so, these emotions can pass in only a few minutes without tears or tantrums just deep breaths. They simply breathed through it and let it go before it built up and became unmanageable or caused them to over react for the event that had unfolded.
When they had fully experienced the emotion we could then look at what we might do in the future to better prepare and come up with a plan to improve. It was no big deal. Just back to the drawing board.
The same went for the moments where they succeeded beyond our expectations. The wins and the super performances. I also had to not get caught up in the emotion. I felt the pride or excitement for them in the moment and then I too let it pass and bought myself back to balance.
I encouraged the kids to do the same. Enjoy the moment. Feel the thrill and excitement, then let it pass, breathe and be grateful. Then back to the drawing board.
I made a point of not getting caught up in the ups and downs. It wasn’t always easy. Especially when my little people were hurting, it is so hard to not try and make it better for them! But they do need to learn how to move through the pain and the disappointment themselves. They need to see it as part of the process.
Pain, fear and disappointment are not negative emotions.
They are simply emotions.
They are part of a human experience that we have on a regular basis.
Our emotions need not be dependant on an outcome, on a ribbon or achievement of our goals.
Why wait to be happy when ……..
Why look to outside influences, people, places or things to bring us joy when we can experience it anytime we choose to irrelevant of external factors.
When we work from a place of quiet stillness, and move easily and effortlessly through a full range emotions nothing gets stuck. We can choose where our balance point is.
This way we have a clearer head, become more compassionate and able to be fully present for our 4 legged or 2 legged learners.
This creates courage, resilience and perseverance in our kids and horses. They are more willing to dare to fail, and to keep getting back up. They know that we are a balanced and centered place to come to where they can safely manage their emotional and physical state. There is no shame or pressure here…. just space.
As a coach, you are free to draw on any emotion required to best serve your rider. You can create a space and an environment to nurture growth. You are available and present to offer the best part of you that is required at the time. Your riders will Thank You for it and their results will speak for themselves.
Here’s to finding your balance point
If you are looking for some space to feel, or find your self stuck in an emotion, I am here for you.
No judgement, just space and opportunities to express.
Step into the arena and get in touch x