I had a horse as a kid. When she first came into my life, I was scared of her size and her spirit. But I knew that once we developed a trusting relationship, she would become a large contributor in who I would become.
At first, I took baby-steps in building the relationship. I started by feeding my horse carrots through the fence. Then, as we became more comfortable with one another, I took full responsibility for her daily care: feeding, watering, brushing, and mucking the stalls.
Eventually, I needed to tackle riding her. We had some friends that trained horses; more accurately, they trained riders. They impressed upon me that I needed a checklist of things I did without fail every time before a ride that would help ensure success. These were simple, yet essential things: checking the proper fit of the bit, ensuring the saddle was tight, and I adjusting the stirrups correctly. I also remember them telling me that if I ever needed to feel more confident, all I needed to do was grab the saddle horn. And they were right.
Learning any new skill is like that. We need a trainer, a routine, and a way to anchor ourselves to feel more confident.
The saddle horn analogy came to mind this week when I was working with a client. She’d decided to take a break from our regular coaching sessions and wanted to develop her own set of pre-ride routines and identify her saddle horn to ensure that she had the confidence to ride on her own.
Through our session, she developed a list of daily routines that had been a part of her recent success, much like checking the bit, saddle tightness, and stirrup length, before taking her ride.
She also knew that she needed something outside her daily routine to feel confident, her version of the saddle horn. She landed on finding an accountability partner to confirm she’d maintained her daily commitments to herself, ensuring she wouldn’t get bucked off.
When you are transitioning to self-confidence and self-reliance, what processes do you need to put in place to ensure success? What is your version of the saddle horn that gives you the added confidence to know you won’t get bucked off?
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