I am an ambitious and highly driven person. I have worked hard to progress doing what I love, and I get great satisfaction from this every single day. I am also very passionate about personal development – constantly stretching myself to take on new challenges, and push myself outside of my comfort zone in order to learn new things. It is when I am stretched, taking on those new challenges, or well outside my comfort zone, that I am at my best and I learn the most.
To be clear, the above statement refers to my career, or my ‘day job’. I really love my job, I am good at it, I work hard, and I am rewarded for my hard work and passion with career progression. But when it comes to horses, that statement could not be further from the truth. When it comes to my hobby, my passion outside of my career, I am mostly anxious. Anxious about my own abilities. Anxious about other people’s abilities (and why they have better abillities than me). Anxious about what other people think of me. Anxious about my horses. Anxious about what my horses think of me. I could go on! But in short, it is often difficult for me to understand why I can be so ambitious and confident in the workplace, yet have so many doubts when it comes to my horses.
One thing that is consistent across my career and my hobby is my love of learning, and the amount of self education I do to get better at both. As part of my own personal development in my career, I recently watched a talk from Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook, Author of Lean In) regarding women finding their voices and being heard in the workplace, and a quote from her really resonated with me:
“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
This talk was for women in business, and asked them to think about what being afraid has prevented them from doing or achieving – but it made me think about how my fears hold me back when it comes to horses. I am anxious or afraid of a lot of things, and this has prevented me from taking risks, challenging myself a bit more, and potentially not achieving my goals or dreams. So instead of setting New Year’s Resolutions for 2018, I am going to instead ask myself – What would I do in 2018 if I weren’t afraid?
- If I weren’t afraid – I would just enjoy having Paddy back in work, instead of overanalysing every step he takes in the fear something is wrong again.
- If I weren’t afraid – I would be proud of the progress I have made with Willow, and proud of my hard work, instead of constantly questioning my abilities, and whether or not I am capable of producing a young horse.
- If I weren’t afraid – I’d trust my instructor when they say I’m capable of jumping that fence/doing that movement, and get out of my own head!
- If I weren’t afraid – I would give new experiences and challenges a go, and see them as a chance to learn and improve, rather than worrying about being absolutely perfect before I’m ready to step up.
- If I weren’t afraid – I’d go to a competition not worrying about what others think of me as I warm up or compete, and just enjoy the experience with my horse.
- If I weren’t afraid – I’d set myself the ambitious goal of making it to the Dublin Horse Show on at least one of my horses this year!
And if I weren’t afraid – I would be more open on my blog about my anxieties, my fears and my insecurities, safe in the knowledge that we have all been there at one point or another, and I am not alone.
In 2018, I resolve to: Be proud, but humble. Stop worrying what others think. Trust my support network. Push myself out of my comfort zone. And most importantly, Be Less Afraid.
So tell me – what would you do if you weren’t afraid?