As a little girl I dreamed of owning a horse but, alas, my parents did not share my dream. I was lucky enough to grow up near a horse farm, so I was able to be around horses as a child. I always thought someday I would own a horse; but as I became an adult, my priority was working and raising kids so I never seemed to get around to taking the time to own a horse.
Now as a forty-five year old woman, it is finally that someday and I am living that little girl dream with my horse Poppy. Because it has been such a long time since I had ridden a horse, I have hired a riding instructor, Lori. During my horseback riding lessons I am often surprised to hear Lori coaching me on the same items that I work with my corporate coaching clients.
Just last week she instructed me to make my horse Poppy trot whenever he was behaving poorly. You see every time Poppy and I passed the barn door he would pull on the reigns and act spooky. Lori coached me to make Poppy focus on some positive behavior so he won’t think so much about what is scaring him; make him trot and he will forget about what is making him nervous and stop his negative behavior of pulling on the reigns!
Earlier that very day I had said something very similar to a coaching client. My client, an accomplished salesperson, was working on cracking a tough account. She was worried because this account had issues with a product she had sold them earlier in the year. As we were preparing for her sales visit, she mentioned that when she gets nervous she tends to talk a great deal. She was concerned because she knew she would be nervous on this visit. So I asked her, what is the opposite of talking too much? She said listening well. I asked her what things does she do when she listens well. She said I ask questions and take notes. We then made an elaborate question guide and note-taking instrument. I told her to focus on the doing the positive (listening) versus the negative (talking to much)!
It is a simple lesson, really, when we put energy into what we do want to have happen because it takes the energy away from what we don’t want to have happen. This is true for Poppy as well as for all of us!
My question to all of you is what do you put energy into? Is there anything negative you are doing that you could avoid by putting energy into the positive?