How Coachable Are You?

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a horse clinic taught by a wonderful instructor named Ricky Quinn. Some people find Ricky gruff or challenging to get along with.  Me?  I think he's GREAT! He's no nonsense, direct and tells it like it is.  He doesn't sugar coat things but he is never cruel in what he says or how he says it.  Maybe it's easier for me to work with someone like Ricky because of all the years I competed in sports. I had a LOT of different coaches, some were better than others and only a few were great.  I started swimming and diving competitively when I was 6 years old which also may have helped me learn how to be coachable.  I learned early that if I wanted to get better at whatever I wanted to do, I had to do what people who were better than me told me to do.  Seems simple enough right?

Over the 4 days I watched people who obviously wanted to learn to be better really struggle.  They wanted to learn but only to the point that they were comfortable letting go of their fears.  The thing with horses is that they are a direct reflection of whatever energy you send out into the world.  Their actions and temperament are the outward manifestation of what is going on internally for whoever’s working with them.  Ricky said repeatedly in order to go someplace that you've never been you have to go places you've never gone, as well as, in order to get things you've never gotten you have to do things that you've never done.  I want to go one step further and add that you have to become willing to do both of those statements as well as add one of my own.....  Nothing changes until something changes.

I know that going into the 4 days I was filled with ALL sorts of conflicting emotions.  Part of me wanted to show Ricky how far Teddy and I had come since last year, part of me wanted to be the ‘star’ student but mostly I really, really wanted to just show up and learn how to be better.  The first day both my horse and I were pretty distracted.  Teddy was picking up on what was going on inside of me and bless his heart, was displaying it beautifully.  On day 2 Ricky took both of us to task, in different ways of course but it was essentially the same conversation.  After that we both were on our best behavior, really focused and working as a team. 

I wasn't hurt or offended by what Ricky said to me because he was telling me the truth.  In that moment I could have chosen to listen and take what he said to heart or I could have gotten offended and thought 'What a jerk!'.  How often has a friend tried to tell us something that we didn't want to hear?  How did we react? How often have we NOT told a friend the truth because we had a pretty good idea how they would react?  When someone gives us the gift of telling us the truth and delivers it in an honest, non judgmental way, do you accept that gift?

Last week I wrote about fear, resentment, insecurity and judgment, I’m writing about it again this week because it’s such an important topic.  It’s funny to me that these are key things in my life that I have the opportunity to look at on a regular basis.  When I look around and watch others, it seems to me that they struggle with these things as well.  When we learn how to be more comfortable in our own skins we will be able to take a broader view and not take things so personally.  When I work with my coaching clients I teach them how to be observers in their own lives in order to help them identify the area’s that no longer serve them.  I do this by asking them to be aware of when they engage in certain behaviors and then mentally say to themselves, “Hmm.. isn’t that interesting.”, with no judgments, just pure observation.  I then ask them what emotions come up as the observer and what the exercise was like for them.  Without exception they are amazed at the things they learn about themselves and the coolest part is that they can let go of old behavior patterns that no longer serve them. 

Last week I ended the post with “My wish for you this week is to take a step back and look at whatever situation you find yourself in, in which you are struggling, so that you can see what part is yours to own and change.  If I don’t like a situation then it is up to ME to change how I am showing up so that I may change the situation.  Remember that nothing changes until something changes and I invite YOU to be the change in your own life.”

This week I would like to ask that you step back and say to yourself: “Hmm, isn’t that interesting.” And see what comes up for you.  I’d love it if you’d be willing to share your experience of what this exercise was like for you.  I’m so very grateful for all the Ricky Quinn’s in the world because without them it would be much harder to grow into the people we can become.

Here's to you in Health, Wellness and Fitness!

Jennifer Malocha CEO of Fun at Wuhoo Fitness

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