Monday, January 26, 2015

Fear of Failure

I've been in a bit of a hole lately. As we all know, motivation peaks and troughs and when its high we find it hard to believe we were worried about anything beforehand, but when it is low it feels like the world is ending and we don't know how we will get through... Well, at least in my case it does. But I'm just a bit extreme like that.

I've become fed up of my periods of low motivation getting me down. Horses and my career is all I have, there is no plan B, nothing to fall back on, because I once read that if you have a plan B, you'll need it. If you don't, then you'll just have to be successful, won't you?

The downside of that is that I can get too emotionally attached, so a bad day of riding can affect everything else, which snowballs the low mood. So firstly I decided I need some other interest that can help me clear my head... Still trying to think of something. Secondly I thought to lessen the troughs of low motivation by understanding what causes it, and what is different when I feel high in motivation.

After a lot of thinking, it seems that a fear of failure is holding me back from achieving anything. As a typical perfectionist and high achiever, I'd rather stick my head in the muck heap than fail at something. However what I'm seeing now is that by holding myself back from so much, I'm not high-achieving at all - I'm achieving nothing, hence the crappy mood and feeling of getting nowhere. I'm not fuelling myself with the thing makes me truly happy and motivated by nature: Success.

I stopped writing because I was scared to write down the truth for fear of being judged, and since the essence of my writing is my honesty and blatancy, I felt no point in it if I had to write about boring stuff no one could really take an opinion on. If I look back to my better, most successful days (personally), I was smashing out blog posts full of raw feelings and material people could relate to, which was what made it worth reading. That was back when I didn't fear much. When I was a teenager I felt the world was at my feet and anything was possible, so a bit of judgement wasn't going to stop me. I would love to get back to that place, so I need to not be afraid of writing. It petrifies me to even put up this post because its showing my vulnerability, but really I know that a lot of people go through this and at the end of the day, I want people to see they aren't alone and even the people that appear to have so much going for them can feel worthless inside, so never judge a book by its cover.

I haven't done much teaching lately because I lost my confidence and felt I didn't know how to teach and felt bad taking people's money. I stopped putting myself out there, as if I didn't teach then I couldn't disappoint anyone. Then I started teaching a couple of lovely ladies because they approached me for a lesson. I started a new slate, stopped overthinking if I was "teaching right", forgot what I was told in my UKCC training, and just HELPED them have a positive ride. They absolutely loved their first lesson, and I saw that that's all it is - helping people. I mean seriously, I have had SO much training in different countries and have a lot of knowledge, so all I had to do was pass it on. They come away from their lessons feeling uplifted and confident in what they are doing with their horse, and I get inspired by these people that love their horses so much and truly do it for fun - something that can get lost in all the pressure of being a professional. I captured that feeling of content after teaching them and made a mental note that it was a feeling that motivated me, so before I could hide away again I put up a few teaching ads on some Facebook groups. The response was certainly unexpected. I had put up ads before in tack shops, feed stores, tried to spread the word on Facebook, but wasn't getting anywhere. But for some reason, this time, it worked. I have now booked 6 lessons in for this week. Normally, this would petrify me, thinking that I had to satisfy all these people to get their money's worth. But instead, I'm excited to meet these new people that live around me and can't wait to help them with their horses. I guess it's all about perspective - how you look at these situations  determines how you feel about them.

So obviously competing is a nightmare for me. Strangely, once I leave the gates for the competition, I'm fine. The horse is plaited and on the lorry, everything is organised at home, and I can just focus on riding my tests. It's the days before that are the hardest. The training sessions in the lead up to the day, where I put so much pressure on myself and the horse to get things right at home first because I think if I can't do it at home then I won't get anywhere near doing it right at a comp. Sure, a lot of the time the horse isn't ready, but people still go out anyway and do it. But again, you'll sooner find me with my head in the muck heap than going out there in front of people feeling like I have no idea what I'm doing. The only solution to this is just to push myself out of my comfort zone and go to the damn competition. Sure it could all fall apart and I would fail, but my success would be the fact that I actually went. And just as there's a chance of failing, there is also a chance of winning, and it's up to me which one I focus on.

If I can carry on sorting these little (?!) issues out, day-to-day motivation will be a lot higher I'm sure!

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