I think it's pretty safe to assume we're all glad to see the end of 2020. Whether you're making jokes about hindsight being LITERALLY 2020 or not, I hope you're looking ahead to 2021 with a renewed desire for something better.
With that in mind, I just emailed my clients an assignment for the new year. A Goals Sheet. (If you didn't get one, click on the download) I like to use these for clients and for myself because I think it does wonders for keeping everyone on the same page. We all know what its like to have a goal, recognize the goal, and then get so distracted a by some detail that we can't actually remember what the goal was to begin with. Sound familiar?
This is also an important tool to promote communication between clients and trainers. Trainers have plenty of things they'd LIKE their clients to focus on. I'm sure all of us have had that kid or that client horse that we think could do THIS, or THAT, and we get caught up in the possibilities without checking ourselves and remembering that this isn't actually OUR journey.
Which is why trainers should be making their own list of goals too. Goals for our businesses. Goals for ourselves as competitors and equestrians. What is important to us? What kind of trainer do we want to be? What sort of program do we want to have? And let's face it. If we get the message from a client that their goals and our goals are so far apart that we can never meet in the middle, this is the point where we have a responsibility as professionals to help that client find a trainer or a situation that WILL help them meet their goals. If my twelve year old client puts down a goal of competing in the Junior Hunters at Devon before she graduates from high school, that is absolutely AMAZING. I wish that rider all the luck and love in the world. However, I'm not entirely sure that fits with my program model and I'd like to be up front with the rider and the parent about that as soon as possible.
The other thing you'll find on the goals and priorities sheet I send to my clients is a spot for a personal affirmation. "When I feel like giving up, I will tell myself..." I ask that my clients finish that sentence. It's a really important part of this process. We've all been there. That point where you're pretty sure you've picked the wrong sport, you can't do anything right, your horse has been possessed by a demon from another world, (insert negative thought here). There will always be low points like that in your riding life and in your regular life too.
It's okay to have the bad days. They're going to happen. But it's what you DO with those bad days that makes or breaks you in life. Those are the teaching moments. The moment where you feel like giving up and you tell yourself... Not some profound words of wisdom, but just something you need to hear. Something specific to you. Now, if you're good at coming up with epic quotes, then good for you! But if what you need to hear is sweet and simple, then say it. Say the thing that reminds you to keep going and take a moment, a deep breath, and then get back out there and try again. Because at the end of the day, that's what horsey people DO. We get up, dust ourselves off, and get back on because we love what we do and we know it makes us better people in the end.