Monday, March 28, 2011

Mega Tangent Monday OR: Why people pay me for advice

In my last post I mentioned in passing my goals for my upcoming race and how I plan to achieve them (essentially, I have kicked the crap out of myself physically for the last month. well done me!)

This got me thinking about goals in general, how they can be useful and how people manage their own personal world domination. ....which in turn made me think about my job, where I get to yammer on quite extensively about all of this!....

It is my job to help my clients set and reach goals, boom! plain and simple. With the horses there is an extra challenge of having a 1500 pound four legged beast with the approximate maturity level of a preschooler on crack. There has to be a crap ton of flexibility in any "plan" where a horse is involved because they are fragile creatures who occasionally need a change of scenery or pace in order to stay fresh. Top priority, in a nutshell, is to maintain the happiness and soundness of our furry little problems. I mean friends, bless 'em.

Throw a few high maintenance, slightly eccentric equestrians into the mix and things start to get interesting! Add me to the equation and (believe it or not) logic and reason always prevail. Really!

I always have endless words of wisdom for my clients when it comes to goal setting. I have been doing this shiz for years!

It is good to have a BIG goal: "I have competitive aspirations! I wish to earn xyz award over the course of the next few years!"

Some smaller goals: "To earn this award I will need to compete in several recognized shows at two different levels and get x score."

Add in some personal goals: "I have lingering show nerves... I will take time for positive imaging before I ride, will schedule weekly lessons and practice in front of a crowd in my home environment to overcome my fear."

And a dose of reality: "I am going to need a lot of money/time to manage to reach my goal. However, it is important to me so I will commit to making this happen by cutting back on social outings/careless spending (booo!)"

Then think about what needs to be WORKED on to get to step one:

"I am not in good enough shape to ride my horse as well as I can. I will improve this by going to the gym three times a week."

"I have never ridden at the highest level that is required for the award I am aiming for. I understand that it will take at least another year before I/Horse am ready for this challenge."

You get the picture, and how this (honestly) directly relates to running goals as well! For me, because riding goals are almost second nature at this point I find myself taking my own advice when it comes to setting (foolish. unreasonable.) goals for my running. ...take the horse out of the picture and I only have my own silly legs/mental health/fitness/attitude to worry about. It is really so damn easy......

It is discouraging for me when people present goals that are not.... mature....

"I want to go out this year and kick so and so-s BUTT in the show ring!"

"I just want to win ribbons so I'm going to move down a level, even though it presents no challenge to me."

I imagine that this relates to the running world as well and is equally **ahem** productive. It is good to wish to come out on top, right? But at the end of the day meeting a personal goal is more important.

One seriously good thing about competitive running is that there is NO question of how you did, or why you finished up in 288th place. No mystery, no head shaking, no nothin'. It is also easy to have a look at your personal results and see improvement (or not...) It is the tricky thing with horses- you might go out and have your best go EVER- but if the judge does not agree you won't get your best score. And yeah... there are serious judging standards but at the end of the day it still boils down to personal preference. It's part of it and we all accept it for what it is and don't moan and wallow. We just drink a few extra beers...

So! In horses, running, or fabulocity in general there seems to me a common thread. In order to improve, reach goals and see progress one must work hard, smart and fair (in regards to horses.. oh and yourself, I suppose!) You need to know not only where you want to go but how you are going to get there, and what can help you to get there in the smartest, happiest and healthiest way possible. And you always, always, need to have a Plan B to fall back on if Plan A goes to hell in a handbasket. (these are good rules to live by. perhaps I'll write a book of inspiration! NOTTTTT.)

Anywhoo! I promise no more long preachy posts for a while. Honestly, I think that the setting of goals is an interesting topic and one that I deal with every day so I have a lot to say on the matter!

Next time: what is worse: big hills? chapped knees? spongy dirt roads? or something far worse!!


  1. Lots of think about. I'm in a weird place where goal don't exist in my world, personally. But I agree with you, set a REASONABLE goal, work your butt off, and get it. Done.
    Big hills or chapped knees? I'll have to ponder that one.

  2. I really loved this post. I think sometimes people only set a really big goal and forget there are a bunch of small goals that need to be accomplished before you get to the big goal. A reminder to learn to walk before you run!

  3. This is a great post :) Thanks

  4. This is great stuff..we can all use a little more direction and focus. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I like this. I'd rather run big hills then with chapped knees! But I hate running with the runs. ;)

  6. This is a great post! Goals that are not mature....Dang-I guess I need to change some of mine. Really, though, you bring up a lot of great points! Thanks for sharing:)

  7. I like this post. You have a good perspective on goals from all your experience.

  8. Thanks for this post - interesting thoughts at a good time for me to be thinking about them!