Practice #19: Start the success habit of paying attention to what needs to be done next. Too often we’re looking backwards and dwelling on the past, or we’re looking so far into the future that we aren’t taking the right actions in the present. Set a course for success, learn from failure, let it go quickly and take on the next challenge.
How jumping over fences reflects life
One metaphor that demonstrates this is learning how to ride a horse over jumps. As anyone who’s ever ridden can tell you, horses can feel your fear. Riding is beautiful when the rider and the horse have confidence in each other. As with any other endeavor, trust and confidence in those you work with is vital for success. Trust in yourself is vital.
Newer riders tend to look down at the fence as they approach it. Once you’re close to the fence, though, you actually need to be looking at the next fence. You should have already set everything in motion to successfully sail over the jump in front of you. You’ve judged the distance and signaled to the horse to go the right speed to take off at the right distance to the fence. You’ve positioned your body to lift out of the saddle as the horse leaves the ground. You’re going the right speed to set yourself up for the next fence. You’re looking at how you’ll successfully navigate the entire course. Sound like life?
Hesitation hurts us
Here’s the amazing thing. The horse can sense it if you look down. This is bad news. If your focus is on what’s happening immediately in front of you instead of what’s up ahead, the horse will stop dead in his tracks and refuse to jump the fence. You’re not ready and the horse knows it. He feels your fear and hesitation. He’s lost confidence in you. The horse stops but the rider frequently keeps going, right onto the ground, onto the fence, or flying over the fence without the horse. None of these feel good.
As riders gain experience, they learn to look ahead. They quickly move on from a poor jump and concentrate on the next one and the one after that. They learn to see the whole course at once. Before they go into the ring they imagine doing every jump and having a great ride. They feel confident in their success before they even start.
Think blue ribbon
When you’ve embarked on a new and exciting challenge, remember these behaviors that make a blue ribbon winner.
- Know your next step
- Learn from failure and move on quickly
- Know that you only get better with practice and new challenges
- Visualize success
- Trust yourself and others will trust you
Do you have a story about a sport that taught you about success? Share it in the comment box below. We’d love to read about it.