Wednesday, February 1, 2012

80% of Success is Just Showing Up!

While teaching this month a topic that continues to come up is finding motivation for ourselves. In fact the topic of how to be motivated and how to make progress has been the most dominate after-clinic/lesson discussion between myself and students. Which caused me to lick and chew on the drive home and thinking about the overlay on the horsenality/personality chart. So, here is what I have been thinking about when it comes to motivation/getting started/making progress.

Extroverts have the jump on us introverts when it comes to getting started! The chances of an action-motivated extrovert just doing ‘something’ is greater than an introverts who may feel like they have to have all the information first, then have a plan, and KNOW what’s going to happen before they even start. Well let’s face it, the chances of all of these things lining up, and an introvert feeling motivated, and in the right mood every day from the start of a project to the end is pretty slim! Particularly when we’re talking about a horsemanship journey and did I mention “the journey is lifelong”.

If you find yourself on the introverted side of the Personality model more times than not, I can relate! I relate to the feelings of not having enough information to start, or “well, I really don’t have enough time today”, or “I’ll just wait until tomorrow (and then tomorrow turns into the next day and then next week)” and pretty soon we haven’t started and it’s 2 months later. Now, for some extroverts looking in it may appear as if us introverts are procrastinating, but more than just putting something off, it is uncomfortable for us to start a ‘something’ without having ALL the information. We may be the ones who buy a new camera and before ever pushing a button we have read the entire manual, so that we can find out how everything works before we start snapping shots. On the flip side: some extroverts are likely to take the camera out of the box, push every button on it to see what it does and take at least 100 pictures before the day is over. When asked about what they learned from the manual they are liable to say “What manual, it came with directions?”

Both have their benefits and I can appreciate the advantages of both approaches. The point I am getting at is that the horse’s manual is not nearly as black and white as the camera’s manual. In fact, by comparison (particularly for adults who per Pat Parelli’s definition: Practice making simple things difficult), the horse manual becomes incomplete, unclear, ever changing and never-ending! At closer look the horse manual can seem so overwhelming that often Introverts struggle getting started or making it back to the barn after encountering a problem they haven’t read a solution for. It is such an uncomfortable feeling not knowing what to do and/or not knowing the ‘what if’s?” This uncomfortable feeling can be enough to stop some people in their tracks and hold them back from progress.

The good news is: there can be a light at the end of the tunnel, if we are willing to feel a little more uncomfortable for a little or a lot longer. As introverts we need to embrace the uncomfortable feelings of doing things without knowing all the details, if we hope to progress. The uncomfortable feeling is our brains way of trying to keep us safe (Stephanie Burns has some excellent information, to learn more on this), our brain is doing its job. Just like your horse’s prey animal instincts are doing their job when he spooks at the rustle in the bushes. Sure in principle and while sitting comfortably reading, ‘Embrace the uncomfortable’ sounds like a great idea, but in practice it may not ‘feel good’ and often looks odd as we’re trying to figure things out. However, if we are EVER going to make progress we have to just get out there and do it. Now, let me be clear, I’m not suggesting that you go out to the barn and pull off your bridle, hop on without a saddle and see how things go, what I AM suggesting is that you actually GO to the barn. To get started, a strategy that can be successful is to schedule time to be with your horse and GO. Even if you’re not ‘in the mood’ to play, go anyway. Sit with your horse or groom them or sit on the other side of the fence and watch your horse. After all you are more likely to eventually play with your horse if he is at fingers distance than if he’s 10 miles down the road or even ‘all the way’ out in the backyard. In order to make progress you must make the time with your horse a priority. It is your time to do what YOU need with your horse, even if that means sitting next to him and talking about your challenging day at work/school or standing next to him and smelling the one and only smell that is YOUR horse (it’s the same smell that our non-horsey friends think is ‘stinky’, but those of us who have a love for horses - we know it is the BEST smell in the world :-). In fact by just showing up, you are already 80% down the road of success! So, when life starts to get in the way of your horsemanship and threatens to stop your progress in its tracks, remember 80% of success is just showing up, so GO!