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The Difference between Working Hard and Getting it Right

This past weekend I competed with Gracie in the Open Training at Seneca Valley Pony Club Horse Trials. She put in a lovely dressage test scoring a 28. This score should have been much lower had I not completely messed up the last three movements: medium trot, turn down center line, then halt. What should have been our easiest three, the test was going so well I just forgot to ride them correctly. I couldn’t be more pleased with this horse however. Show-jumping and cross-country were fine. This was a great confidence boost for her before moving back up to Preliminary at Marlborough in two weeks. Having spent the summer sweating back home and moving up North, we made the smart move to make our first event back an easy one. The goal was to work on myself riding prepared and planned. Oftentimes in the heat of competition I ride in “survival mode” versus focus and planned. This usually involves, me, riding defensively, and only having a concern for going in-between the flags. For a green horse this may be a smart move, but for Gracie who is already bold and confident not so much; especially as the fences get bigger and questions become more technical, a good ride by me is going to make the difference in us crossing the finish flags safely.

It’s all part of the learning process, I assume. Which at this point I would prefer to do sooner than later.

One of the hardest parts in my job, growing up, and being a successful adult. (I consider a successful adult someone who doesn’t forget their wallet at home when they go to the grocery store and can efficiently navigate traffic without any u-turns) is that my mind runs on high speed, all the time.

For instance, in elementary school during a pretty stressful period in my personal life in math we would practice ‘speed’ times tables reports. 60 seconds to answer all the times tables on our homework. I was epic at this. Flying through the pages, I could turn it in in 30 seconds. Eventually my teacher would call me up, only to point out that I had skipped an entire line of problems. I hadn’t even noticed!

“Yes, 10th grade AP Lit teacher, I know I forgot to use spell check, but that paper rocks so I’ll accept my 92.” says my former self

Later in high-school and college in English on every paper I ever wrote, I never wrote a rough draft. I would just start writing, skipping the entire planning and outline steps. This usually earned me an A, not an A+, but an A. A’s were above average; so I confidently continued this procedure of writing because as long as I was above average I didn’t feel the need to do anything more. My writing style was quick and for me efficient.

I adored reading. I could read so fast; by far passing every student in my class by how many words per minute I could take down. Now did I ever read the long descriptions or details on the scenery in my novels? Of course not, but the dialogue and story line I could narrate exquisitely.

When I started grooming at shows, I was coined “white lightning.” I felt confident that I could out-work most anyone and thrived on getting tasks done fast. Whatever time needed, I was up, stalls were cleaned, horses ready, before the riders arrived.

So my mother just sent me this adorable little pot for my kitchen! Isn't it precious!
So my mother just sent me this adorable little pot for my kitchen! Isn’t it precious!

It’s through all of these examples that I’ve up to this point made do by accomplishing all of my work in my personal life, school life, and work life as fast as possible. It’s not necessarily that I want to be done to accomplish other things or that I dislike the work that I’m doing, but my mind has always just run on this track. Unfortunately this means often times like a cd, I skip. In college I lost an election because I had a reputation for misplacing things. I’ve lost countless checks from teaching riding lessons from setting a check somewhere aimlessly, and my misplacement of so many personal items has left my bank account empty too many times when I have to purchase a second or THIRD item!

All for the sake of completing something quickly.

This little soul catches my heart every day
This little soul catches my heart every day

Up until now, as a young person I begrudgingly took the smack of the hand or repercussions of this. It’s been a personal struggle, each time I throw a pity party. How could I have lost a pair of tennis shoes that I just bought last week?!  I just drove 35 minutes only to realize I left my debit card at home! I’d cry over my stupidity, call a friend for a solid pep-talk, order a milkshake then move on. Only to repeat the process sometimes later.

Now though, I’m finding in my adult life. The effort makes no difference at all, makes me no better than any peer if at the end of the day you screw up. I may be the hardest worker, but that in itself won’t win a trophy. It appears in my youth even if I didn’t ‘win,’ I still earned my trophy whether that was from no one contradicting my work or still placing slightly above average.1017191_744964508865328_1982944668_n

In my adult life, I have to get it right. Just imagine the rider who wants to be an olympic athlete so she runs for hours every day yearns really hard, but in actuality she wants to be an Olympic swimmer. Sorry kid, but unless you actually swim I don’t think you’re going to make the cut. It’s a sorry fact that sometimes the winner isn’t the one who put in the most hours. The winner is the person who did it right, when it counted.

This blog isn’t about becoming a winner, but becoming effective. I don’t think you should go through days trying to win competitions that don’t exist. I just feel up to this point in my personal life, my INTP, fast-paced way of accomplishing tasks isn’t extremely effective in the Real World. It is actually pretty detrimental in larger ways now. I have real bills, responsibilities, and friendships that matter more now. I have to be an adult and get it right.

The next post I want to share my new found love for Challah bread, my love of New Girl. Oh, and I need to share the outfit I finally found for my hot date! Hot as in weather…. Not saying my date wasn’t hot, but I’m just saying the weather was hot while we were on our date.

Thank you Kim for reminding me that
Thank you Kim for reminding me that

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