Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Making the Program in love, life and horses.

I have found myself to be the most accurate about a person in the first 30 seconds. The feeling I get about someone before they even speak; my impression from the look in their eye, their movement and body language. My sense of feel is well developed because of my years of applying it to horses. I have a strong gut read, but an overachiever’s need to work around a challenge.  In my failed relationships, if I look back to the first reaction I had when first I saw each of them, I was the most accurate about who they eventually showed themselves to be in that primary moment. I became a champion at overlooking that sense. I set aside judgment and got to “know” them, which ultimately meant making excuses for why they were not realizing their obvious potential.  It has not served me well. 

Over the past few years I have elevated the quality of people in my life. I kept the healthy friendships and shed the rest. I welcomed new, wonderful people into my life, and that has made a tangible difference in my well-being. I have always been selective about the horses in my barn. All of them have strengths and potential, and I give them what they need to embrace those qualities. With horses this results in a good relationship.  I don’t take in just every horse. As a species, I love all horses, just like as I love the human race in general. However; if I want a successful program, there are many horses that don’t help you get there. Great cowhorses aren’t made out of any ole horse.

Things began to change for me when I stopped letting just anyone into my life.  I could feel the improvement, but I was still dating like I selected horses for my barn. All they needed was the whisper of some unrealized potential, and true to my strengths, I would set about giving them what they needed to reach their true capability.
Herein lays the rub.

Horses rise to that call.

Men wallow in it.

What that leaves you in is a relationship that takes much effort, but gives nothing needed back. It is doomed by design. It took me a long time to grasp that concept.It finally happened when I started to look at it like this… There is one set of criteria that gets a horse into your program. A potential partner has to have those qualities as a given. I then asked myself this question:

If from all of these horses, you had to pick only one of them to ride and compete on, in any type of competition, for the rest of your career, who would you pick?

That was a concept I could understand. I would never pick a colt, or a promising prospect. I would pick a proven, tried and true bridle horse. A warhorse who has already shown, without a doubt, what he is capable of. I would pick one of my special horses, one of the exceptional creatures that a person is lucky to have even one of in a lifetime.  A horse who has the kind of grit and heart that separates them from the rest.

I would never risk my career on potential, but for years I risked my personal life on promise. When I got ahold of that line of thinking, things began to change for me. I have felt much more confident in my connections, friendships and relationships once I was able to apply that analogy to my personal life. Moving forward in all things, I plan to listen to the observation of my heart and gut. I will no longer try to silence them and think my way out of their opinion. I will apply my critical thinking to the things I can measure.