The Rider’s Mind Podcast Episode 55: 3 Mindset Mistakes

As my kids like to say, “it’s opposite day”!  I’m not coming to you with tips this time, I’m coming to you with mindset mistakes.  If you reverse engineer these, you’ll find the tips within.

Today, we’re tackling 3 mindset mistakes that I see often.

Mindset Mistake #1: Thinking you’re the only one that’s nervous

When I learned that I was not the only one who was nervous, it was a big breakthrough for me. I used to throw up before every horse show, but I overcame that. As a teen, my aunt told me about a professional football player who threw up before every game and I realized that a high-level athlete was doing the same thing I was. Knowing that other athletes experienced this allowed me to feel more normal about my own nervousness.  

If you feel nervous, you are not alone. 

You could look around and there might be people whose legs are shaking, who are white in the face and feeling like they’re going to fall off their horse, but you can’t see that!  Don’t make yourself special, you’re not the only one who is nervous.

Even your idols get nervous, that’s where their edge comes from. Those people just have a method for managing their nerves.  They have a way of ensuring that those feelings don’t take over. That’s the difference – some people have tools and techniques to deal with nervousness.

Don’t compare your feelings to others because you don’t truly know what they have going on.  

You just see the outcome of how others deal with their emotions.  Sometimes even the pros are overcome with feelings and they do mess up.  You’re not the only one this happens to. 

Mindset Mistake #2: Making a run happen

Over-trying leads to under-performing. When we really try to make something happen, it causes an unravelling through the tension it creates.  It puts pressure on you and leads to tension in your body, which affects your horse.  We need fluidity and grace.  

“The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.” – Bruce Lee

You want to find the flow.  Allow it to unfold.  Allow yourself to trust your training.  Let your muscle memory take over in the run. Anytime you get into overthinking, you’ll end up with tension in your body and resistance in your horse. 

One of the first mental toughness books I read was called Mind Gym: An Athlete's Guide to Inner Excellence by Gary Mack and David Casstevens.  It’s a great, easy read with short chapters. One of the examples they shared was about having kids run a race and asking them to go as fast as they could and then racing again when asked for 80-90% effort. The kids actually ran faster when asked to perform at 80-90%.  I think this is an example of how tension can interfere with performance when you’re trying to “go as hard as you can”. 

You’ve maybe noticed this at a barrel race.  Sometimes a horse looks very intense and like they are running really fast, but they don’t clock. Then another horse is just smooth with no tension and that is the horse that clocks. 

Trying harder does not necessarily mean that you’re going to do better.

When you find that flow and find that zone, it’s smooth.  There is a reason they say smooth is fast.

Mindset Mistake #3: Scolding yourself into doing better or working harder 

Speaking negatively to yourself might work temporarily, but over the long run, it has a negative impact.  The voice in your head needs to be your cheerleader. (Learn more in Episode 14: Get a Better Friend in Your Head.)

Scolding yourself brings down your vibe. It’s not a good long term plan to get things done by making yourself feel bad. We’re made up of energy and speaking negatively to yourself brings that energy down.  

Lift yourself up. Speak kindly to yourself. 

Check out my Facebook page for more mindset mistakes and tips. 



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Learn with Me
If you’re looking to make changes to your mindset, be sure to sign up for my free Next-Level Mindset Mini Course

You can also join Stride, my next-level barrel racing group. The group is open for enrollment from August 19-25, 2020!  This group receives video training and coaching from me and Stride members also have access to special guests. We work on riding the stride and staying present and we strive to improve ourselves in order to be better riders and competitors. 

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