Why You Need To Take Yourself Seriously. You Know, Make A Big Deal Of Yourself.

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Back when I was a teenager- or at least on the cusp of teenage-ness, probably around 13 years old, my parents bought me a horse who was called Minnie. At that stage of my life, Minnie was beyond anything I had allowed myself to dream. She was beautiful, the colour of red burnished treacle. I used to run my hands over her coat, marvel at her sheen.


Despite her inherent and regal loveliness, the fact that she strutted round as though she was a Queen (side note: she was), Minnie was not without her quirks. She was sensitive and feisty. The charisma that she carried, the air of whatever it is that makes a horse stand out meant I had to work to harder, learn more, step up to be the kind of horseperson that really met her standard. But I was in love, had time and was up to the task. I got up to muck out early, cleaning paddocks before school, and as soon as the bus arrived at our corner, around 4:30 pm, my bag would be flung to the side, I would change out of my school uniform, and you’d find me in the paddock, in the arena, riding round the farm, always in the company of my beloved horse.


At this stage of my life, my family had started competing. It seems funny to look back on – my horsing adventures seem so removed from this kind of life now- but at the time I loved it, and it allowed us to travel round and have many experiences together as a family. When I think about my competition life, or if someone asks me to describe it, I would say I was a nervous competitor, yes (that anxiety was, in part, the reason that I have the business that I do now), but I was also fierce. The anxiety was less about a specific fear and more about the fact I took what I was doing very seriously. I took myself and my horse seriously. And I did so long before anyone else did.


There’s a part of me that loves and most definitely roots for the underdog. There was a showing class at the Sydney Royal Show where there were over 80 horses in my class (a thriving era in agricultural scenes which seems to have taken a tumble in the years of late). The showing world is known for being subjective and political. I was told: ‘you don’t have a chance. No-one knows you. But you know, you can at least go out there and have fun.’


This particular story has a fairy tale ending- lord knows, we know they so often don’t. But Minnie and I- we won that class. With the 80 something horses. All the words of “you can’t do it” ignited something within my head. I believed in my horse and beyond that, loved her with intensity. Maybe she felt that. Maybe we just got lucky. But it still stands regardless as one of the best moments of my life.


The actor, Ethan Hawke- one of the Patron Saints of creativity- talks about how moved he was listening to a speech by the wife of one of his recently passed away screen writing heroes. To quote the article speaking to the same in the New York Times:


“She looked out at the crowd and laughed. She said John Cassavetes was always disappointed because nobody would finance his movies; he’d always felt dismissed and disregarded. “‘And now here you guys are making a big deal out of him,’” he remembered her saying. She said that was nice, but that they shouldn’t miss the point. “‘Make a big deal of yourself.’ You know? Whatever indifference the world gives you, he felt it, too. So you’re just as good as he is. Like, go out and do it.”


I believe this to be true, not because I’ve read it, but I’ve lived it. I have no idea why the seed exists inside me, but I hope it exists within you too. And if it doesn’t, please make it your mission today to start to find it.


I took my riding seriously long before anyone else did. I took my business seriously years before it earned me a single dollar (and I continue to take it seriously through all the ups and downs). As a writer, who hopes to share experiences of wonder and is moved to write as part of her love letter to the world, I take my words seriously, regardless of the numbers who read them in return.


I take it all seriously- which is different to gruffly, or holding on too tightly, or being arrogant and not humble- because they are all important to me. They are part of my vitalis, my vitality, and the sharing of what it is I love.


Taking yourself seriously is important. It’s, in part, the curative for self-doubt. It is the thing that needs to happen, before and not after, someone else takes you seriously. And perhaps, most importantly, it’s what allows you to create a life that is lived on your terms. In developing self-trust.


Take yourself, the things you love seriously. But as a start point- not as a thing you get to at the end.


Taking yourself seriously is what allows you to devote time and to keep showing up for all the things you love.




❤️ Jane

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