I feel very frustrated right now: I lost my confidence a while back and however much I try I can’t seem to get it back – whenever I think I am on track to get it back again, something comes up – family, work – and I can’t spend the time with my horses that I need to – and so it goes again. How can I build my confidence when life keeps getting in the way?
What a great question. Even people who work with horses every day end up saying this – Life gets in the way!
If only we could just get on with the things we want or need to do without all those other things getting in the way. Right now I am dealing with weather, mud filled paddocks, sick rather aged parents who need visiting – and most recently a car that stopped working. Oh yes, life gets in the way. But then again, when things are going WELL they get in the way too: if work is busy then I am off and out coaching people, meeting new horses – and am too busy to sit and write the blog – so life gets in the way even when things are going well.
For all of us, there are things that we want to do. Dreams we want to turn into reality – like riding on the beach, or becoming a horse professional; or just smaller things that we want to focus on, like being able to canter with confidence, or be able to enjoy a ride out with our horse on a summer evening….
And there are always other things that need to be done.
Part of being human is to acknowledge out predatorial history: we are designed as predators and, although we have a large prey element in out make up too (which is why we are able to relate to horses so well) we have lots of characteristics that have developed throughout our evolution that have been responsible for our success as a species – but don’t always make it easy in our current lives. For example, as hunters, we learned to have intense, single point focus. To keep track of a trail or prey so we could eat that week.
This is great in many areas of our lives – it helps us achieve great things – however, it can also mean that when we have a goal or target, anything that gets between us and that goal or target is seen as an interference, an obstacle – something to get past or around in some way as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Which leads to a certain mindset: the mindset of “if only it wasn’t for x, I could get on just fine”, “if only life didn’t get in the way, I would be able to…..”
The thing is, that life doesn’t get in the way. These events and situations aren’t obstacles to be pushed through or places to be rushed past – these things ARE life, this IS life…
LIFE is every moment of every day, whatever we are doing.
Whether we are with our horses, at work, with family, doing paperwork – it is all life – and time still goes at the same rate.
So what would happen if, instead of thinking how “life gets in the way”, we developed a mindset of “this IS life!” and put our energy into taking the most from every part of it?
Right now, I can‘t spend a lot of time with my horses – we have snow and mud that makes it difficult. So I could worry about that – or I could say “great, since I can’t do much, let’s not worry about it and get on with some of the things I can’t do when I DO spend time with the horses: let’s catch up on paperwork, visit friends….”
Having family commitments, work commitments – having things we HAVE to do that take our time – that is all part of being alive. Sharing time with family and friends isn’t life getting in the way, it’s what life is all about. Sure, the timing could be more convenient, but hey, nothing’s perfect.
So here’s a question for you: How would it change things if, instead of thinking of everything else in life as things to get out of the way before you can get on with your horsemanship, you thought: ok, this is how my life is – now, how can I work with it?”
The reality of my life means I am away from my horses for periods of time and, even when I am home, I am not able to work or play with them every day. I could get upset about this (I used to!) – or I can accept that is what my life is – and comeup with a plan.
My approach is to set aside blocks of days when I am not coaching or travelling – and have “DIY playweeks” where for five days in a row, I am full time with my horses.
In this way, I end up averaging about the same hours as someone who gets a short time with their horse each day, I still make progress with my horses – I enjoy the weeks, they are like a short horsey vacation – AND I don’t get so stressed about the rest of my life; in fact when I get to the end of the week it feels good to be back in the other areas of my life again.
That’s what works for me in terms of working WITH My life, instead of working around it: What works for you?
Share your ways of integrating your horse time into your real life in ways that make your whole life more manageable and enjoyable.
And remember, it’s a journey, not a destination. Life doesn’t get in the way, Life just is.
Yours, in confidence
PS: for more on this working with reality issue check out the article: https://effectivehorsemanship.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/reality-or-magic/