I am delighted that the Confidence Wheel I posted here back in March is getting some replay on other sites this week — always good to know when thinking is appreciated and helpful. Many people have commented and messaged me to say they are finding the wheel useful not just with their horses, but in the rest of their life too. Others have been in touch asking “when are you going to start posting again?”
And I realised over six months have passed since I wrote that Confidence Wheel post….
So what has happened?
Have I run out of things to say? (some of you are laughing at that thought!)
Has everything about confidence been said?
Am I not interested any more?
The answer is – none of the above. In fact what has happened – is just plain old everyday LIFE.
LIFE has happened.
Some of you may already know this, but I started doing the confidence coaching back in 2008, after the credit crunch when my professional consulting and training work dropped off – and my mum was diagnosed with dementia. I stopped doing the consulting work, spent more time with mum and dad – and started doing the confidence coaching.
I really enjoyed the change. Working with people who wanted to make a difference to themselves and their horses was and is very rewarding (in emotional terms, if not financial!). And for 4 years that was my focus.
I started the blog in March 2012 when I realised that people were often asking me similar questions and I thought I could share more widely and reach more people to help them by having the blog.
Life was flying along, with lots of horses and helping people – a wonderful combination. Financially it was tough, but in all other ways it was a great time, I was helping people grow, helping horses be happy – and growing myself in many ways too.
Then in summer 2012 I met G – amazing, I now had a partner as well – life couldn’t get much better (although a lottery win would have been appreciated).
All through this time my own horses were getting attention and time, because I was self employed and managing my own calendar, and this was how life was working.
Then, in October of 2012 my dad fell ill. Oh we had had some challenges before when he had 6 weeks of radiotherapy and we had to work out how to have sitters with mum, while ferrying dad to and from the hospital on a regular basis. We were lucky – we had local people who volunteered to drive dad, and I, being self employed, could take the time to sit with mum. But this was “proper ill”. He was 89, and had a fall. We found respite care for mum, and it was all hands on deck to support the situation.
We were very lucky – we had supportive Macmillan nurses who coordinated services – and we ended up being able to get mum and dad together again, in the same care home, for a few weeks before dad passed away in June 2013.
Of course, in this time, I had been able to do very little work – so life was getting challenging. My partner was being bullied at work and it was obvious they were trying to “move him out”, so things were changing….
Through all this I was in pretty good shape thanks to friends and family. And I will never forget that it was friends and family who made all this “life” easier to handle, and happier to be in. I will always treasure that time I had with mum and dad helping them stay at their home as long as they could.
With mum in care, and a partner whose job was in jeopardy, I took a good long look at where I was and what I wanted. And I decided that “life” had changed. Whilst I enjoyed what I did, I also loved my partner and now had an opportunity to change things to support him, and us in a different way.
The confidence coaching would never be enough to support us without his income: not at the rates I charged anyway (gosh darn my belief in making things accessible!!) and I wanted to think about having time with friends and family again without worrying about missing work opportunities (which usually came up at weekends, just when friends and family were around to spend time with)
So I looked at life, and thought about what I really wanted.
And went looking for a “real job”. I applied for lots – and then got head hunted for one. And you know, it is an amazing job. I am valued for my thinking, my perspective and myself. I am in a great team. Sure the company isn’t perfect, but then I know from my consulting experience that no company is. And I get paid. Every month.
And this job is enabling may things in life: we can buy a house in the country, instead of being on the edge of a town; we can plan for G leaving his job as we can manage on my income alone for a while; I can go and do an intensive classical riding course; I can plan and spend weekends with friends and family without worrying about the impact on income; I can buy Christmas presents without stress!
So many amazing things now possible thanks to this change in life.
In June this year, my mum passed away. I was happy that I had been there for her so much, and that as a family we had been together for so long. And I was happy with my choice to find the job…
Of course we are not there yet – currently I am working away from home during the week, so no horse time or coaching time except the weekends – and then I just want to be “home. But that will change in the spring when we move house and I will have my evenings at home again. And my brain is still coping with this “working every day” thing – I wake up on a Thursday and it says “Again? Really?” LOL
My horses think they are retired, getting fed, brushed and that is about it for now. I did loan a horse, Paddy, so I could practice my riding – but he turned out to have a sore back so I couldn’t ride him – he is happily in a rehab home getting better. Many things have not gone as planned!
Next Spring I hope we will be moved, I will have the evenings and weekends for my own horses, and the income to enjoy life.
I also plan to be coaching again – maybe in a slightly different way, in a format that is more “self directed learning” than me being there all the time – or group working – or video coaching. All that is to be planned.
Bu the main reason I am writing all this, is to make the point that all that has happened since 2008 – has just been LIFE. Life happening, and me making choices about that life. Or just going along with it when choices didn’t seem possible… even if I can’t choose what happens, I can have some impact on how I choose to feel about what happens…..
Now I could feel guilty and sad about things: I could feel sad about not being with my horses so much, about not keeping up to date with the blog, about life not being exactly the way I planned or wanted it. I definitely feel sad about my mum and dad not being around anymore. And that is normal. That is life…
Or I can just recognise life for what it is and make the best of it at each turn, at each junction, using the mindfulness and meditation I practice most days….
There is a Chinese story I love:
There is a story of a farmer who used an old horse to till his fields.
One day, the horse escaped into the hills and when the farmer’s neighbors sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”
A week later, the horse returned with a herd of horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”
Then, when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”
Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer’s son with his broken leg, they let him off. Now was that good luck or bad luck?….
How does this apply to confidence – and possibly even horses?
When we are able to hold the perspective that “life IS” and accept that, and then make our choices based on what IS instead of what we wish were true, then we are in a place where we CAN change things….
Of course this relates to mindfulness – which I plan to write more on later in another post. Being mindful and accepting your reality is the first step to making a change…
So what has YOUR LIFE got to do with it?
And what would help you make the choices that your life is needing right now?
Yours, in confidence