Whenever I see a riding client of mine becoming tense and frustrated on their horse, I ask them to pause what they’re doing and define success for themselves in this moment. The mental tension of striving for a goal that is at the moment out of reach, causes muscles to shorten and bodies to stiffen in ways that dramatically reduce performance. As soon as a more appropriate goal is defined, the rider can resume the calm focus that they need to ride well, enjoy themselves, and relate well to their horse.

As with everything I teach, what I teach, I also need to learn. Sometimes over and over again.

While having dinner with a close friend a few weeks ago, I was struck to realize that my definition for success in my working life is several years out of reach. And moreover, that I have been hitching a level of satisfaction and happiness to that goal that, frankly, I’m not willing to wait that long for.

My goal was causing me to feel like a failure. And I’m all for big goals—I’m certainly not letting go of my big goals and dreams, but goals have to have an appropriate time frame attached to them. And mine was most definitely not.

So I’ve been taking some time with myself to redefine my goals and my definition of success for a day, a week, a month, and a year. I’ve been listening to that strong voice inside that says I’m not willing to use stressful striving to drive my motivation anymore. I’m choosing to be happy and satisfied with my life exactly as it is, which brings me deeper into appreciation, gratitude, joy and all the good feels.

I am blessed. I live in a beautiful home with my furry family who bring me deep and abiding joy. I live in a neighborhood that I love, just down the street from lifelong friends. My neighbors all wave and stop to talk as they walk by with their dogs, their kids in strollers, or on horseback. There are buffalo across the street, donkeys around the corner and sometimes my neighbor two streets over takes her miniature horses out for a drive, the pair of them pulling carts. This is a charmed life I’m living.

I have a loving, supportive family and we are blessed with good health. I get to work for people and horses I love, in a way that is creative, juicy, playful and grounded in good science. I get to work with children, learning from them, supporting them and making a difference in their lives.

Success is right here, right now, in this rich and abundant life I’m living. The big goals will have their day, in one form or another, and until then, I get to walk this walk, enjoying each and every step along the way.  Aho.

How do you define success for yourself and how does your belief about success shape your life?  I’d love to hear.

Wishing you all abundant blessings,

Emily

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