Without a Doubt
Updated: May 5
After a lesson with Bill Noble, who is an English born Grand Prix Dressage rider and trainer located for many years in New Zealand and whom we were fortunate enough to get a lesson with! Yes, I am still fizzing from that 90minutes of pure gold. Oliver said one of the things that Bill did, was he did not doubt for one second that Oliver (& Joy, his horse) could perform whatever he was asking them to do.
Oliver said, he would say do this and you did it.
As Ben Zander says, when Martin Luther King said, "I have a dream" he did not say to himself, I'm not sure they are up to it. As a leader you must not doubt the capacity of the people you are leading. When we coach and develop our children, we are leaders. When someone else coaches, teaches or trains human beings or even animals. We must not doubt their capacity to do something. If we do, our instructions change. Horses like black and white. They need you to give them clear instructions.
It can be easy to make adjustments or modify our thinking. One of the things that I might say is look at how small Joy is, she may not be able to jump that high. And Oliver reminds me that Queenie - all 13.3 hands of her was a Grand Prix showjumper (1.6metre jumps) and that the height of the horse is not a factor to consider when deciding whether or not it is possible for them to achieve.
One thing that as human beings we can do is get into limited thinking. Many people say that as you get older it is harder to lose weight or your memory goes, or physically you are unable to perform certain duties. Sometimes that limited thinking builds up and you get stuck living the life that you thought you were destined to live.
When I broke my leg and put my femur into my tibia and split the tibia, requiring a bone graft from my hip to rebuild the top of the tibia. I could of given up and many times people might see me on crutches or even in a wheelchair and they are like, what happened? I have lived with this injury for a number of years and people see me out riding a horse. Much of the time we are disabled more by the limitations others put on us. I am capable of riding a horse, because my horse puts up with my lack of muscle, he is kind and forgiving of my in ability to balance and hold myself as much as I was used to. And I am jumping him. And I have so much joy when I am jumping him. Or really sometimes as he can be quite a handful, getting on.
I literally have to ride through 20 minutes of anxiety and even then he is still likely to shy at something, but we take our time and we do it. That is the mental agility to do such a thing. But if I doubted my capacity or his capacity to settle or to jump or to perform a movement. Then I would literally never get on. I would never show up.
When my nervousness would spill over whilst watching my kids do death defying feats and I would say to them to be careful or to perhaps not jump that ski jump, they would remind me. "But mum, you told us we could do it". And they are right.
I am not saying it is easy, but in order to achieve anything, you must not have a doubt in your mind that you are capable of doing something. If you are answering to someone else's limiting beliefs in the world, then you have to ignore those and carry on.
You can listen to professionals and people who say they know or you think they know, but at the end of the day it is your life and you can be limited by your thoughts and beliefs or you can seek out those that see no limit to your capacity or believe you are capable of training a horse to Grand Prix level.
Leadership starts with yourself.