Q: Hi Jane, I feel like I have plateaued competitively. I just can’t seem to crack it. It’s an always a bridesmaid, never the bride situation! How do I break through to that next stage? I feel like I’m permanently stuck in second place!
Many of us are more than aware of what it is that we fear, but not nearly as many are aware that we also have limits on how much success we can handle. A exercise I get all of my riders to go through is to ask themselves, how much success can you handle? How much is too much? It’s so enlightening what comes up!
The level of “comfortable success” that we have defined for ourselves creates a self-built glass ceiling. This upper limit is predominantly a consequence of our unconscious belief systems that seek to keep us within a limit that is known to us and that we feel that we can comfortably handle. The key word here is “unconscious”; if left unexamined, our habits and behaviors keep looping back around in a continuous circuit, and we are unable to make the kinds of decisions, and consequently take the kinds of actions that can propel us to the next stage.
If you find this confusing, think of it this way. Your belief systems inform the decisions that you make in any given moment, and your decisions inform your actions. Your actions then create your results. If you have a belief system that seeks to hold you within a certain limit (again, this is usually not a conscious decision), then you wil make poor decision, which leads to poor results and the cycle is reinforced.
The process involved to breaking it is to discover the height of that glass ceiling and then to develop a vision that goes beyond it; because we are talking about this is the context of the competitive arena let’s use that as an example. Please note I am working on the assumed knowledge that both you and your horse have the skills and competency to ride at the “next level”; what I am addressing here is your mindset.
If you feel like you have plateaued at a certain point, or you are always getting the same outcomes competitively, a really useful exercise is to sit down and to think for yourself about the level of success that you are comfortable with. Start right at ground zero, right at grass roots. It might be that going to a casual open day is something that you are really comfortable with and then you can step it up and go right, Well an A&P Show competitively; I am comfortable with what outcome at an A&P Show?
What do I think is possible for myself, and what outcome do I think, oh yeah that is okay!
Now, we are going to leap up to Horse of the Year, and say right, if I am at a big National Event, how do I feel about being there? If you start to think about well I really shouldn’t be there, I mean that is way beyond what I am capable of! Then you know that you have gone outside of your comfort zone and just below that is that glass ceiling, or that threshold that you are comfortable with.
Whatever you are comfortable with, whatever your threshold is, the process is the same. Once you have identified that level then I want you to step beyond it and ask yourself, well what would be the next step up from here?
What situation, what environment does that encompass? What does that require that I do with my horse? Then I really want you to create your vision as a result of that. To associate yourself as much as possible in that picture and get comfortable with being there.
In order to create that form, in order to actualize that level of success as a part of your reality you need to be comfortable with that as a mindset, as a thought form, as a thought process. Creating your vision is part of that familiarization and part of that comforting process that I really encourage you to get into and is so, so important.
Best of luck!