Why selfish equestrians are happier and more successful
I have noticed that there are two types of Eventers. I am not going to start naming names but I think you will be able to quickly assess what riders belong in each group.
The unselfish group: This group is large and does okay but I would not consider them the most successful in terms of riding results or business savvy. They are friendly and kind, but they tend to not be as happy. They are very helpful but they are also complainers. They are not as confident and don’t bask in a glow of satisfaction when it comes to their riding careers.
The selfish group: This small group puts their riding first in such a happy way that if you don’t look too closely, you mistake their happiness as kindness and generosity. Their riding always comes before family or any relationships. Their worlds revolve around their riding careers and they make no apologies for it. The people in their lives know this and actually respect them for it. They never complain. They just make their lives happen for themselves. They are running late for everyone else but they are on time when it matters to them. They get to their students when it is convenient. The students tolerate it, because they are in the presence of success and greatness. Selfish riders are confident and tend to attract supporters because people are generally drawn to happy positive people. The masses that are drawn to these selfish riders, just naturally cater to them.
So the lesson for today is: If you want to be a successful rider, you need to be more selfish.
Prioritizing self-care is necessary in order to pursue your goals and be useful to others. If fact, here are six things to remember the next time you find yourself feeling guilty about doing what YOU need to do. Start putting yourself first and make no apologies for it.
1. It improves your most important relationship.
Being selfish is about connecting with, pleasing, entertaining, and loving yourself. When you do this, you prove to yourself that you deserve to be treated well. You wouldn’t put up with ill treatment from someone else. Reinforce that standard by being kind to yourself. Make yourself your number one priority. Get your riding done each day before you help anyone else. Your goals need to be worked on before you help others.
2. It creates an expectation of happiness.
Trying to please others is a recipe for frustration, stress, and disappointment. Everyone has different opinions about what you should do or how you should behave, so it’s fundamentally impossible to make everyone happy. On top of that, constantly putting others before yourself keeps you from living the life you desire. For example, when you are at a show, make sure that you are able to get in your course walks and warm ups before you schedule in clients. You need to ensure that your competition goals come first. If you are feeling confident about your prep, you can better serve your clients helping them prepare.
3. It puts you in the habit of listening to your inner voice.
When you only have one person to please, decision-making becomes infinitely easier. That doesn’t mean you will always automatically know what you want. But, when you practice making choices based on your desires, you become much more in tune with your internal compass. You need to follow your instincts when it comes to moving a horse up the levels or selling or buying. Learn to trust yourself.
4. It frees your loved ones to care for themselves, rather than you.
Taking responsibility for your own well-being takes a weight off the shoulders of those who love you. You’re demonstrating that others don’t need to burden themselves with your feelings, because you are self-sufficient. The horse business will be a foreign concept for many people in your life. If you choose this life style, then own it and learn to earn without burdening the people you care about most.
5. It better equips you to be of service in your business.
We can’t give what we don’t have. How can we help anyone else find peace of mind if we don’t have it? Prioritize your own growth and development and when you are good at what you do and happy with your results, you will be better equipped to help others and earn a living.
6. It allows you to stop blaming others for your unhappiness.
You cannot be in this sport to make someone proud of you. You need to be in it because you love it. If you are trying to please others (family, owners etc) you will tend to blame the dressage judge for a poor mark, your coach for bad advice, your horse for not obeying etc. When your primary goal is to please others you are holding them responsible for your unhappiness, even if you don’t realize it. Not allowing other people to be stakeholders in your happiness frees you from resentment from the things you cannot control. This inevitably will allow you to work on getting better at your craft and being able to perform better dressage tests through great communication with your coach and horse.
Selfishness as described here is about taking care of yourself and making your own happiness a priority. It’s the foundation for a fulfilling riding career. If you ever find yourself feeling guilty about prioritizing you, remind yourself that your happiness is the KEY to being a better rider and mentor and it is necessary for you to truly Live the Dream.