Try harder. Push more. Break through those limits! Does this sound familiar? Coaches and teachers of all stripes, including horse trainers, often push us to do more than we think we can. They challenge, coax, and sometimes even threaten us. It’s an effective strategy, used on high achievers, to get us to mentally and physically reach new levels of performance. When we succeed, we get our favorite rewards—self satisfaction, competitive success, and an endorphin rush.
Our current culture, generally and in sports, encourages us to challenge limits. Run farther, jump higher, do more. Most of us high achievers have internalized this ethic. We don’t even need outside motivation. It’s our guiding principle. Goodness knows, we wouldn’t want to rest on any laurels, or rest at all for that matter.
Of course, I understand this. It’s my mantra too. I’m a high achiever, both athletically and otherwise. I have a firm belief in hard work, doing more than I think I can do—no matter what it is. My pride often rests on my tough, can-do attitude. Rest, me? Only when I take that dirt nap* at the end of the road.
Well, look whose attitude of no-limits caught up to her.
Let’s just say, I’m down for the count. Actually I’m on the mend now, or I wouldn’t be able to write this. The short version of my story: my push, my drive—without a little tempering from perspective and experience—got me injured. I wasn’t even on a horse. (I was working out so I could be stronger on a horse.) I have done this before, so I’m more than little peeved at myself that I have to learn the lesson again. As most of you know, one of my favorite sayings is: go out and make new mistakes (trying new things), rather than repeat those old familiar mistakes.
As I sat recovering, unable to type, but able to think, it came to me that some lessons needed to be presented to me again. So, I share them here, hoping that they will resonate with you, too, and perhaps save you from having to learn them the hard way.
Darby’s Guide to Pushing Yourself
So, along with everything else, I’ll be working on all of these things this coming year. If they do indeed resonate with you, drop me a line! I’ll look forward to hearing about your progress too.
In the meantime, My goal is to have a restful and joyous holiday season—I wish you and yours the same.
All the best,
*thank you, Weston Richardson
For over 25 years, Darby Furth Bonomi, PhD has facilitated positive transformations in clients of all ages. As a practicing psychologist and consultant, Darby has worked with many people to achieve lasting change and establish the foundations for mental wellness.
Now in her primary role as a performance psychologist and family consultant, Darby merges her life-long experience in the equestrian world—as a rider, parent of riders and owner—with her vast toolbox of psychological and coaching interventions to help riders of all levels and their families reclaim the joy in their sport, leading the way to improved performance and better health. She loves helping clients untangle the complicated situations that tend to arise when horses are added to families.
A dynamic speaker and change maker, clients have sought out Darby to help improve their lives, both in and out of the saddle. She is devoted to making the equestrian world—and the world at large—a kinder, gentler and more respectful place.
Darby currently shows in the amateur owner hunters and equitation with her horses Little Wing and DaVinci, alongside her teenage daughters. She is married and has a college age son who steers clear of the barn. She lives in San Francisco.
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