With Labor Day behind us, it’s the unofficial start of fall. For me, September still means ‘back to school.’ I have always loved starting a new academic year, with different courses, new instructors, and fresh books! I haven’t been in school for a while, but I look to fall as a time of renewal and rededication to my goals. I invite you to come along with me on this journey, to consider where you have been so far this year, and affirm where you want to go.
I hear you exclaim, “well, it’s been quite an ‘extraordinary’ year!” Yes, I hear a lot of folks saying, “I have given up on 2020—transport me to 2021.” Not so fast, my friends. We still have quite a bit of living to do in the next 4 months. I, for one, am going to jump into my fall show circuit with gusto! More on that in a minute.
Before I go on, a word about 2020: I agree—it’s certainly been a crazy year that has served up considerable challenges. There is no doubt that we have struggled with many unforeseen circumstances. But I believe there have also been gifts, some of which have not yet been revealed. For me personally, the pandemic brought my family closer—physically and emotionally. Quarantine allowed us time together, forced us to slow down, and afforded us experiences we would not have had otherwise. With the loss of so much, there was also more time for reflection and appreciation for what we have. 2020 has brought tough times, and we have shared those as well. Before dismissing this year as a waste, I encourage you to ponder the gifts that it has brought into your life and challenge you to expand on those gifts as you move forward. Where is the opportunity for growth now?
For many of us who show horses, this competition year has been a wash. Shows were cancelled, delayed (including the Olympics!), or moved to different venues. Those riders with year-end goals have repeatedly adjusted their expectations, not to mention their training and preparation. It’s been frustrating, and at times heartbreaking. But what have the best among us done? They have done what they always do: adjust to the circumstances, and ride out of the line. You know what I mean: they don’t give up. In tough circumstances, the best not only adapt, but thrive.
How do they do that? They are determined. They have a long term vision and short term goals. They stick to their training plan, and make the most of circumstances. The best work their plan every day, knowing their time will come.
Ok, so here is your chance. It’s September, the start of our new ‘semester.’ What do you want out of your fall? How do you want to wrap up this year? Yes, you can look to 2021, not as an escape from what IS, but rather as a stop farther down the line. Remember, the stops you visit now will determine where you end up. What you do with your riding in these next few months will set the stage for going forward. You can’t take Economics 200 before taking the prerequisite. And, you can’t expect to start 2021 on top unless you get working on it now.
For me personally, I spent most of 2019 competing in the adult medals; this time last year I found myself in several finals here in California. This year, I’m focused on polishing my skills in the A/O hunters and national derbies. My trainers know that for these next weeks, I’ll vigorously devote myself to my training, prep, and performance with my personal goals set—all the while holding the knowledge that this fall is my pre-req for bigger intentions next year.
What is your renewal plan for the fall? What ‘courses’ are you taking to set yourself up for January? Where do you want to go, and what do you need to do to get there? I challenge you to grab the gifts of 2020 and make an energized plan. 2021 will be here before we know it, and I know you don’t want to be left at the back of the class.
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