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To push myself or not....???

I always balked at the idea of pushing myself too hard (or having someone push me harder) because I always associated it with the feelings of not being strong enough, and fear of failure. I have come to a new realization, however, that to be the person that pushes themselves you must already know that where you want to go to is possible and believe that you are not only able to, but are actively on your way there.

It is common to associate a strong athlete with someone that pushes themselves really hard. You can even hear the athlete say things like, “I want a coach that tells me all the things I need to do better and is hard on my weaknesses.” Although I’m sure this works for some people, is it wrong to want someone to tell me when I get things right?

I have a pretty good idea when I get things wrong, but I struggle to know for sure when I’ve done something right and maybe it didn’t quite work out. It is true that every round can be improved upon, but I think it’s also true that all rounds have something to be proud of in them, and something worth remembering in order to build on and grow.

For instance when I fell off at the first jump not so long ago, I was pleased as punch that my horse stood and waited while I got up; and although I’m pretty sure I swore out loud when I landed, I was otherwise happy that I handled myself with grace and picked myself up and calmly left the ring.

In our sport in particular there are muddy waters knowing when you’ve ridden something well versus having had luck on your side; or if your pure reaction or instinct kicked in when something tricky came up versus having all your hard work and training come through automatically. It is super important to back these analyses up with positive feedback – let the good things that happened lead to creating good habits/instincts/practice.

I hope everyone has someone they trust telling them when they have done something well or changed a weakness into strength for positive growth!

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