Getting out of my own way

Reflecting on her goals from the day a participant of a recent Leadership: Horse Sense to People Smarts, session suggested that her confidence in dealing with difficult conversations and conflict in her team, improves “when I get out of my own way”. It was one of those comments that could have been my theme statement for the month! Getting out of my own way relates to both my horsemanship and business.

Watch a horse at play in the field and you will witness rollbacks, spins, levades, piaffes and counter canters with the greatest of ease. If a horse can execute these tasks without us, why is it so hard to achieve the same when we ask it of them? It is one of the most common and most difficult questions to answer, it always depends, and it always comes down to getting out of the horses way.

What I have come to understand about how we learn is we are often only prepared to hear what we need at that moment in time. Effortlessly galloping across the open prairie, horses mane and tail flying is typically the first image that comes to mind for those wishing to learn how to ride. Yet when they first get on that dream disappears and fear takes over. Whether it is fear of falling off or fear of failing, it is the emotion that can hold us back.

When fear grips us our first reaction is to hold our breath – the exact opposite of what we need to do. At a recent HRAC event, Shawne Duperon talked of the fear reaction we often experience when meeting new people. She calls the conscious action of breathing the Cycle of Reciprocity – you breathe to help the other person relax and breathe, breaking the tension that might exist.

It is exactly the same tension that shows up between horse and rider. While I often say there are only 5256 things you need to remember when on your horse, I make clear there is only one thing you must begin with and that is to breathe. It is the same thing I repeat often in our leadership programs. When people become conscious about a completely non-conscious action, breathing, they begin to realize the control they can exercise over their own emotions.

I love it when you identify something in a different context to see our own patterns of behaviour that may limit us. Horses benefit from clearly defined patterns of repetition. While I find huge comfort in the routine horses offer, I also see how it is a behaviour I have used as an excuse for the activities that are outside of my comfort zone.

Starting a business was totally outside my comfort zone and as I learned way beyond what I thought I knew. I have remained focused and intent on succeeding with my business and I have learned a lot through the process. I am also now painfully aware of my own short comings, but in a good way as I can choose to do differently. What is curious is the clarity comes as I hear others struggle with the same questions.

So this past month getting out of my own way has lead to many revelations, changes and new projects. I will soon be releasing my next workbook for people interested in learning with horses – In Business to Define; I have already confirmed 10 programs for 2012 and have a new partner in lining up business to fill in other dates.

As I learn to really listen to what it is I need I am finding it easier to let others help out so The Natural Leader succeeds. So thank you to everyone for waiting patiently as I figured that out!

You may also like