How to overcome frustration on the journey to your goals.
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” ~ Tony Robbins
Oh we are a goal-focused society. As well we should be, otherwise how would anything ever get done? Our dreams would just remain in the invisible realms of fantasy if we didn’t take steps to make them become reality. We set a goal, then we set a process in motion to reach that goal.
But what does it mean to be “process oriented” as opposed to “goal oriented?" Doesn't that diminish the importance of our goals?
There would be no process if there was no goal, and the goal would remain invisible without the process needed to reach it. The trick is to get a balance that works, because when we are out of balance, we feel uncomfortable, our horses sense that, and nothing works as well as it should.
There are many different horse training methods out there, both for starting green horses and for achieving in specific disciplines. Like anything we strive for, we take steps to reach performance goals we set for our horses. In a way it is just like going to school. It doesn’t work for a child to be placed into an advanced math class if they have never learned to count from one to ten, or expect them to write a history paper before they have learned how to spell. So it is with horses. We first teach them their ABC’s and their 123’s, then we can go on to our goals in dressage, eventing, reining, trail riding, etc.
But of course it’s not that simple or I wouldn’t be hearing so many people in online groups and at my barn complaining about the problems they are having with their horses. They have their goals, they are following a training program and have mapped out the steps needed to reach that goal, but it’s not working out and they then become immersed in a kind of low grade state of frustration.
"When you want to arrive at your goal more than you want to be doing what you're doing, you become stressed." ~ Eckhart Tolle
The goal is the pinnacle, it encompasses all the steps, therefore it must be worth the most, right? But when the sole purpose of the steps in the process is to reach the goal, if there are any failures or hiccups along the way, suddenly those steps have become roadblocks, the enemy of our progress – and then we are frustrated.
How do we prevent this from happening?
By falling in love with the process. By being so completely engrossed in each moment we are spending NOW with our horses that we don’t think about the future, which is where the goal resides.
So we can reach our goals if we stop thinking about them? That doesn't even make sense, aren't we told to never lose sight of our goals?
Well, if you write your goals in a notebook, then put it in a drawer, the goals don't disappear just because you can't see them at the moment. So it is with the notebook you have in your mind, where you are storing the goals you have for you and your horse.
Here's the secret:
The beauty of falling in love with the process and being completely present in the moment instead of worrying about the future is - it makes a difference to your horse. Because our awareness improves, our tensions disappear, our understanding and performance improves, our communication with our horse improves and without even thinking consciously about our goal – it grows closer, almost effortlessly, until one day we suddenly realize Hey! It's here! We did it.
There is no reason to not be joyful in every moment we are with our horses!
If things aren’t going like we thought they would, all that means is that we are then presented with a learning opportunity of some kind – either concerning ourselves or our horses. Isn't it amazing that the gift of learning new things lasts forever.
We can cultivate an innate trust that our goal will appear if we immerse ourselves in the process, that we work with the horse we have today, right now – not the horse we had yesterday or the one in the future, neither of whom exists at this moment in time.
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