Visions versus Goals
With the New Year comes a lot of talk about resolutions and goals. For years I succumbed to the pressure of setting goals. I would decide how I thought things should go, based my goals upon that and then become miserable. It seemed I was either too busy stressing about meeting my goals that I didn’t enjoy the process, or I didn’t meet my goals in the time or way that I expected. This led to beating myself up which led to more unhappiness.
Then I had a shift in perspective. I began to learn from the horses I was working with. I realized that having a vision made so much more sense. Rather than become a slave to what “should happen” I began to become present with what was happening. From there I could sense into the next step.
For example, when I think about starting a horse a timeline doesn’t work for me anymore. Each horse is unique, in their learning style, learning process and the lessons they need to learn. It works best when I remain adaptable to each horse’s needs in each moment, as well as my own. When I first started out I would let the owner tell me their timeline and if its seemed reasonable I’d agree. But when this happened I began to notice the pressure I felt to get things done. Many times I felt like I had to choose. I could let myself, and the owner, down by not meeting a goal on schedule, or I could let the horse down by rushing them through a lesson or not giving them the time they really needed to be successful in the long run.
I quickly learned to tell owners that it takes the time that it takes. I would discuss with them what exactly they were hoping to get out of the training, and if that was a valid expectation. I assessed if the horse could physically, mentally and emotionally achieve what they were hoping for. If the answer was yes the vision would start to manifest.
The great thing about holding a vision is it is something you can begin to imagine. You can sit with it and begin to feel what it feels like, how you feel with it. When I am starting a young horse I check in with my vision regularly. This gives me guidance on which step to take next. I can break down my vision into smaller, more manageable steps. I then align these steps with my vision.
If I am envisioning a confident riding horse yet I currently can’t lead the horse quietly to the barn or around the ring my first step becomes clear. I must teach the horse to lead and trust my guidance. Within this first step there will be many other even smaller steps. Perhaps the horse needs to learn to yield to the pressure of the halter. Maybe he needs to learn to focus on me instead of worrying about his friends back in the field. All I have to do is tune into my vision, show up, be present and trust that whatever step we need to take in each session is a part of the larger vision I hold. It may take weeks, months or even years but when I stay true to the vision and remain present in the moment I will remain in integrity. That way even if today’s lesson pushes me out of my comfort zone, or the horse out of his, I can still feel good about the work that I’m doing.
As you move forward with 2014 don’t search for quick fixes search for consistent, lasting results. Anne Kursinski recently shared this quote, that I love, from her mentor Jimmy Williams. “Training should be like a faucet dripping on a stone.”