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Do You Have To Work Hard To Feel Valuable?

Clipart Working HardToday a coaching buddy of mine and I were discussing doing things that excite our passion. Then our dialogue morphed into how due to their upbringing many people, like me, feel like we have to work hard, be working hard and working long to create something of value. Personally, I don’t want to feel that way. Playing at something fun and making money doing it sounds, well, more fun…and easier! Whichever mindset we hold influences how we approach our tasks.

One of the many things I admire about animals, is that they do everything easy. They just are themselves. Instinctively, they know what to do and when. Horses don’t lie. Neither do dogs, cats, birds, nor any other animal I can think of. They fully live themselves and fill themselves with pleasure at every opportunity. I’m almost jealous.

So can we create value and have it be easy? Can we do something in a short period of time and find it’s exceptional because it’s aligned with our own brand of personal brilliance?

I’m willing to challenge my mindset of working hard. It’s time for a change and try on the mindset of finding work that seems like play. Could it be that I can create something of value for the world even though it’s easy for me?

Please share your thoughts. What do you spend a lot of time doing that is hard? What is easy for you? Which one brings you the most income? Which one brings you the most satisfaction?

The First Thing To Do When You Are Stressed – A Horse’s Wisdom

Sweetheart Yawning & Breathing Video (Takes a few seconds to load.)
We can learn so much from horses. Horses teach us a very important tool when faced with anxiety.

As you know, my pony, Sweetheart started formal training a couple of months ago (really, it’s me being trained). I’ve learned to look ahead to where I want the pony to go, to be clear and sure in my movements and stand tall and erect, nonverbally signaling to my pony that I’m in charge.

Things have been improving. Much to Sweetheart’s surprise, some of his old tricks to test boundaries with me don’t work anymore. He came up with new tricks, which also didn’t work (at least for long). So slowly, over time, he is learning to trust me more as his leader, and I am growing more confident and becoming a better guide of horses.

Training has included longer and longer grooming times in the wash stall. We’ve come a long way from his first bath when he reared up and escaped by pulling himself free of his halter and stall ties (enjoy his “I do not want a bath!”video at on September 27, 2012). He has learned that being in the wash stall can be quite relaxing and comfortable. When he releases his anxiety, his head will drop a bit, his ears will be neutral and often he sighs or smacks his lips, all signs of acceptance.

In training a pony, it is a good idea to shake the routine up just a bit once in a while, so that he can learn to handle change, even small changes. Just like it isn’t good for people to stay in comfortable ruts, unable to accept change, it isn’t good for horses either. Better to be flexible and be able to master breaks in routine.

So after his last session in the training stall, the trainer decided it would be a good exercise to go the opposite way out of the barn through a different exit. All went well. Sweetheart and I passed the barn owner at the barn door with no incident. She called to me, “Breathe!”

I called back to her, “I didn’t know that was important” and then I took a deep breath. I wasn’t aware I was breathing shallow. How the barn owner figured that out, I don’t know. I know breathing is important. I know when I get anxious, even if I am not fully aware that I’m anxious, that I do tend to hold my breath.

So like Sweetheart who gets scared but then realizes he’s okay, it’s important for each of us, whenever we start feeling tense, to remind ourselves to take a deep breath. Breathing deeply is healthy, filling us with oxygen, fueling our brain.

Take a deep breath when you are tired, when you are feeling a bit off track, when you are chewed out by your boss, or just assigned a project you wish you weren’t. Is a worry attacking your peace of mind? Take a deep breath. Take 10. It is step number one when stress wants to overtake your body.

Stand Tall

Giraffe Clip ArtHow do you lead yourself when you are trailblazing on an uncharted path? You want to build your own business or you want to achieve something new in your personal life but you’re not quite certain how to do it.

This is a good time to seek information and advice, whether it is from books, research or better yet, from someone who has done something similar to what you want to do or to build. A knowledgeable friend or mentor can help you avoid pitfalls common to novices. An investment in a coach is an investment in yourself if you match your needs well with what the coach offers and has in expertise.

If you want your customers and potential customers to see you as a leader, Stand Tall. Hold yourself erect and walk with confidence, just as one does when leading a horse. Don’t feel powerful yet? No matter. Stand tall as if you already are where you want to be.

A recent study revealed that the same part of the brain lights up with activity when actually doing a task as just thinking about doing the task. Imagining what you want is not only fun, but can help you achieve your goal as long as you work actively on your goal too.

So share in the comment section below, in what area do you wish you were more powerful?

Look Ahead to Get Ahead

After the Hail Storm.05.08.13My pony Sweetheart recently turned three. Even though I’ve been training him since he came into my life, turning three means it’s time to get more serious about training him.

The truth is, my pony knows how to be a pony. He has 55 million years of genetic, intuitive knowledge from his ancestors about how to be a pony. I don’t kid myself — it’s me who needs the training to learn about how to be around a horse.

This blog is about the lessons Sweetheart, other animals, and nature teach about life. Do you want to move ahead in your business? Do you want to take yourself to the next level in your personal life? What is your burning desire to achieve next?

A horse will only follow a leader. Falter, and the horse will act up and push boundaries to establish himself as the leader. When I first started training Sweetheart, leading him from the stall to his field, I’d keep looking back at him. I thought I was just admiring him and making sure he was okay. Outside the barn, I’d look at the ground for possible hazards. But to the pony, I appeared tentative, unsure because I wasn’t looking where we were going. Body language and confidence convey to the horse whether you are a leader or not. Horses only follow leaders.

So to successfully transfer Sweetheart wherever I wanted him to go, I had to be clear from the start what I expected of him. I had to stand straighter, taller and convey confidence. It was key for me not to look back at him, which the pony interpreted as uncertainty, but to look only ahead to where I wanted both of us to go. When he’d test me, I had to be firm and clear with what I would and would not accept in his behavior.

Want to get ahead with your next goal? Adapt Sweetheart’s horse sense. Don’t look down, don’t look back, but look ahead. Hold your head high and focus on your next goal. Go for it. Whether working on your goal for 15 minutes or an entire day, have a singular focus on your goal each time you work on the next mini-goal. Be your own leader.

What is your next goal? Share it below in the comment section.

Are You Open to the Unexpected?

One week, three different people knocked on my door, concerned that my beagle (Shaman) was loose. Since Shaman was with me, every single person told me that there was a beagle running around the neighborhood that “looked exactly like my dog.”  The beagle on the loose had escaped each one’s attempts to catch him and return him to me. Since Shaman had been abandoned, I replied that perhaps he had a sibling who was also abandoned at the same time as Shaman.

Thinking Shaman may have a brother, I posted a notice online to my neighborhood’s private group that if anyone could catch this roaming beagle, to call me.  A few days later, the vagabond beagle wandered into someone’s enclosed backyard.  An alert neighbor closed the gate and called me.

I came to see the beagle and brought Shaman with me.  The two looked nothing alike, but the beagle on the loose, actually cried for joy when he saw Shaman and followed him incessantly around the yard. The neighbors hadn’t been able to entice the beagle they dubbed “Northbrook” (the name of our housing development) inside the house until I left with Shaman and Northbrook ran into the house searching for him.

I returned later with a dog crate and followed the county rules, taking Northbrook to animal control to ascertain if he had an owner.  After 8 days, no one claimed him and I received a call that he was mine.

Now, I had never intended to adopt him (only if he belonged to Shaman) but I picked Northbrook up from animal control, paid the fees and took him to the vet to make sure he was healthy.  He passed the health exam and his body seemed to be all muscle.  Then I brought him home still uncertain about having a second dog.

Northbrook was wild and needed training but he soon became domesticated with my gentle ways.  In return, he became as devoted to me as Shaman was and was obedient to whatever I asked him.  He loved the outdoors, so he was renamed “Dagan”, which means “outdoor lover”.

Over the coming weeks, I realized that however unexpected meeting both Shaman and Dagan were. And how unpredictable it had been that Dagan even came into my life, except for the three neighbors who knocked on my door, it turned out to be a great blessing.

I learned that it was easier to care for two beagles vs. one.  The two of them together seemed to mind my commands to come in, go outside, come, etc. better than when I only had one beagle.  They provided companionship for each other and both added to mine.

There are many times in life, when something comes to us unbidden, unexpected and we are uncertain whether to accept it or not.  What do you do with the unexpected, do you shut the door, or do you open it wide to welcome the opportunity?

How many unexpected things have you allowed in your life that led you to greater blessings?

Shaman's Healing Enthusiasm

This is my beagle Shaman, which means “healer.” I met him by accident (or coincidence) during a 7-month recovery from tibial tendon surgery. I found him at the county animal control with a cast on his leg, which I was informed was due to a torn tendon. A hunter had abandoned him in the woods.

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Dogs Are Spiritual Beings

Welcome to Sweetheart’s and my new blog site. A great big thank you goes to my awesome, creative virtual assistant, Maria, who single-handedly designed what you find here! The new look coincides with the refined purpose of this blog, which is to draw spiritual lessons from nature and the animal world which we can use

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When A Storm Hits Your Life, You …

On Friday, June 29, a derecho traveled across mid-states all the way to the East coast, where my friends, family and I live. A derecho is a violent and serious storm that covers a wide area (several states at one time) and moves very fast. Winds were between 80-90 mph. Most of us had no

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If Your Pets Could Talk, What Would They Say?

Veterinarians hold a special place in my heart. Over the years, all of the animal doctors I’ve visited have been able to figure out why various cats, dogs and ponies were saying without words.

If we humans could become skilled in the same art, think of how our communications could improve with others. Listening more

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Time Management – What Horses Can Teach Us

Every barn has a magical evening time. I love observing and being a part of this enchanting time of day. The equestrian center where my pony Sweetheart boards, is run on a schedule. The schedule is regular but flexible to individual needs and the tempestuous weather. Both the horses and their owners appreciate the exceptional

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