Midweek Bonus Blog: the challenge of change…..

Midweek Bonus Blog:  the challenge of change.....

Last Thursday I went for an interview with a training company in London – they do a lot of training and consulting around project management – and change management

Some of you may recall that I have a business consulting background – -so it seemed a good opportunity to meet and see if there were a mutual benefit to us knowing each other

One of the reasons I wrote to this particular company, Maven Training, was that I read one of their e-books, available free on their website, titled “Building the capability for the effective implementation of change” – -and I noticed how closely some of the observations, comments and ways of thinking in the book fitted with my own experience of helping people survive – and thrive – with change;  both as part of an organisation and, more recently, as individuals making changes in their lives.

One of the people I met, William then set me a challenge: write a blog article inspired by the e-book

Well as most of you may know, challenging me to write is like challenging me to eat chocolate – I can’t imagine anything better!  After just a few seconds of thought I could see some close links between the concepts of “effectively implementing change” – and the journey we are all on to learn to build and sustain our confidence with our horses.

Now, I could write an entire, matching e-book – but I will limit myself to a few paragraphs.

Here’s the thing:  when we experience ourselves as “being unconfident”, then moving to “being confident”  is a change.  And it’s a change in how we think, how we work with ourselves and our horses – and often it’s a change inside ourselves too.

Three elements from the book in particular caught my eye:

1.  Getting Started

The book talks of one challenge with making an effective change being “the failure to get started because there is no obvious starting point”

This is VERY common in people I meet who want to change their unconfidence for confidence – “Where do I start?  I know I am unconfident, but what do I DO?”

Sometimes this even stops us from asking for help – -we often don’t even realise there IS help, that we don’t need to feel this way – that we CAN be confident again….

This is the main reason I started doing the Confidence Talks to riding clubs and groups all over the country – and have offered everyone who reads this blog the notes from these talks.

In the talks we SCORE our unconfidence, giving it a name and number – and then we MAP it:  so we have a true assessment of exactly WHAT it is we want to change.  Now we have a starting point.

In the book, they talk of the first step in change being to “Define the “As-is”” – well, that’s our confidence map.

They then say to “Define TO BE”—and this is what we do in the second exercise in the talk.

With our confidence MAP and our Desired Outcome clear in our minds – we KNOW where and how to start our change.

Without this, getting started is a huge obstacle to overcome, for us personally as much as with organisational change.

2.  The magnetic attraction of “business as usual”

The ebook talks of how the pull to go back to “business as usual” can slow down and even stall organisational change projects.

Doing what we have always done is far easier than doing something new – and in fact most of us are really good at doing “unconfidence”- we have had a lot of experience doing it, and when we start to do “confidence” instead, it feels strange, new and not as comfortable.   It’s like wearing a lovely new jacket that you know looks good, it fits really well – and yet it doesn’t feel the same as that scruffy old thing you know is totally worn out…but is sooooo comfy….

Quite often you will be out there practicing your new confidence strategies and you will suddenly find yourself falling back into the old patterns – especially if the other people around you find it easier when you do “unconfidence”.  The blog article “Kisses and Kittens” looks at this in more detail, but suffice it to say that at the individual AND organisational levels of change, the magnetic attraction of the old ways can be very seductive and appealing.

3.  Lack of support for change

This is related to number 2:  if your environment, your ecology, the people around you do not actively support the change – then it is hard, almost impossible to make it stick.

IF you learn to be confident, but no one around you supports your new confident self – well, then it is hard to keep it up and far easier to slide back into the comfort zone of being what everybody else expects.

This is why building and managing your confidence isn’t just about you and your horse – it’s about you and your whole ecology – your whole life.

One of the key elements of developing strategies to build confidence that we work on in the talks is identifying the actual support you will need to make the change stick…

So – was there anything in the book that DIDN’T  relate to Confidence coaching?

Very little – after all a change is a change is a change….

One suggestion in the book is that once the “new” system is in place, remove the old one to avoid that “falling back into business as usual”

For us and our horses that isn’t always possible.  I do find that some of the people I work with end up moving yards, or changing who they ride with to help them sustain their change – but in the horse world it is a continuing challenge to be different – and to sustain that difference  — as that “old system”  is always out there, somewhere.

If any of you are interested, here’s a link to the ebook.  Take a look – it’s really interesting.


After all, a change is a change is a change – the question is, how do we build our capability to effectively implement change – in ourselves?

Yours, in confidence


3 thoughts on “Midweek Bonus Blog: the challenge of change…..

  1. As a grateful recovering addict of almost 10 years, this entire blog speaks to me. But this particular post really hit home. Even now after so many years of implementing my change, I still catch myself falling backwards so easily. My new goal now is learning to apply these same skills of change to my riding. I shared some of what I have read here with my trainer, and now he is also trying to incorporate key points in how he trains.
    Thanks you for this blog.

  2. Thank you 🙂 I have recently made a big change, moving from being ‘the weird natural horsemanship, weird horse, weird barefoot tracker’ in a traditional yard, to setting up a Horsemanship Naturally yard with a fellow natural, barefoot, Paso Fino loving friend. We’re at the beginning of an exciting adventure all about change; we have acquired two broodmares whom we plan to turn into riding horses, and though we’ve not actually ridden any of our horses over the winter (now 8 and a foal to come in June), we’re expecting to ride again shortly (4 of the 8 are already riding horses, though we’re in the process of renewing their foundation in a more natural way). We’re planning to offer pony access to challenged youngsters using an iBex cart and the Welsh section A pony mare in the herd, have laid out two separate barefoot tracks around our 6 acres of paddocks, have acquired a vandal-proof welfare unit to be clubhouse and tack-room. We own 6 of the 8 horses, one is on loan and our first livery arrived last week! One reason that change is happening so fast is that there was no ‘before’ to get rid of and migrate. This is exciting! We’re also looking forward to exploring our corner of Wilts/West Berks/Hants 🙂 If there is anyone out there keen to join us, we’ll also be pleased to take more liveries or offer to share in the journeys of our own horses with folk who wish to play naturally with a horse! Thanks for the opportunity to share 😉

    • Hi Margaret — would you like to write a guest blog about this experience? we would include links as well — and it would be very helpful to people to read about the confidence side of your journey to doing this….


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