8 Steps to Personal Resilience to Achieve Your Dream

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Last week, I mentioned a quote from Steffen Peters, Olympic rider (and otherwise super equestrian):  “Discipline is the bridge between dreams and accomplishment.” In pursuing my own dream of becoming an accomplished equestrian, I have found that a deep well of personal resilience is necessary.

What do I mean by “personal resilience“?  I can best describe it as a deep, inner sense that “I can get myself through this”; “I can rely on myself”; “I can trust what my inner self is telling me.”  Horses require their people to have an inner calm.  If you don’t have it now, they will teach it to you if you let them.  That inner calm comes from truly believing in those personal resilience statements.  Through personal resilience, you can achieve your dreams, whatever they may be.

If you don’t think you have that personal resilience, or it needs a little tune-up, here are some steps that work for me.

1.  Think of a time you succeeded at something. I don’t care if this is something recent, a year ago, 5 years ago, or if its the fact that you got a gold star in 2nd grade.  We’ve all got something.  Think up one, then think up some more.  Write them down.  Look at all you’ve already accomplished!  Remember those.  Allow yourself to be proud.

2.  Remember a time in your life when you were happy, confident, life was going well. Again, it doesn’t matter if this is right now, in the recent past, or in the distant past.  Think of the things that surrounded you at that time.  Do the things that surrounded you then, still surround you today?  Maybe its a supportive friend you’ve lost touch with; maybe its as simple as a song.  Surround yourself with as many reminders of that time as you can.  Tell yourself its o.k. to be happy and confident.

Me?  Nothing puts me in a better, “I can do it” mood than driving around, sun roof open, ’80’s music blaring, eating from the bag of gumdrops in my car.  I’m 17 again!  And we were all unstoppable as teenagers, right?

3.  Stop worrying about, guessing, and assuming what other people think. O.k., I understand that there’s some people you have to worry about.  For example, its probably important that your boss thinks well of you.  But, as for the rest of the people you have brief interactions with – forget them!

4.  Send your fear out for pistachios. A wise woman once told me this.  It sounds funny, but it works.

Whenever I get nervous riding, I say (sometimes aloud): “Fear!!  Go to the grocery store and pick me up some pistachios!  Right now!!”  Just try it.  If nothing else, you’ll laugh.

5.  Listen to yourself. I know, its hard.  But you must listen to yourself and trust what you hear.  Its o.k. to believe in yourself.

6.  Stop the negative self-talk. Just stop it!  Now!!  Really listen to yourself.  Make a conscious effort to be aware of negative self-talk.

Me:  I started noticing that I said, “Oh, I should ride today” and then I never did.  I changed that to “I will ride today.”  That simple language shift made all the difference.

7.  Surround yourself with reminders of previous successes. This is similar to #2.  Look for tangible things.

Me:  I had a previous post about my “I Can Do It Things” – old pair of riding boots from my previous trainer; I just hung up the ribbons I’ve won at shows in my tack room.

8.  Inner beauty to outer beauty; outer beauty to inner beauty. People can debate me on this one but I think inner and outer beauty are connected.  I know that when I look good, I feel better and more confident.  I’m not necessarily talking here about being perfectly skinny, having expensive clothes, or perfect accessories.  I’m talking about taking care of yourself.  Believing that you’re worth taking care of.  What makes you feel beautiful?  Think about and come up with a list of things you can easily do each day.

Specific Update on my progress this week: Nikki and I had our first lesson on Saturday.  We did great!!  Jan was pleased with our progress, how focused Nikki was, and how confident I was.  We were cleared to go to the show on June 7.  Woo Hoo!!!  And then, when I rode on Monday, Nikki bit my reins in half and tried to buck me off.  Oh well.  My resilience will allow me to deal with that and ride again tomorrow.  Countdown to our first show of the season has now started!  See you next week.


(Danelle left 8 Women Dream in March of 2010 and is still working  on her dream is to become an accomplished equestrian)

  • It’s good to remember to enjoy our successes!

  • Hi Riel,

    Thanks for the feedback! Your comment on talking to our friends as we talk to ourselves is a great point. Something all of us should remember.

    I’m trying hard to get rid of “should” in my vocabulary. That alone has made a positive difference. I really like your idea of taking it a step further and replacing “will” with “love to”, “want to”, etc.

    Keep commenting and let us know how your doing with changing your own self-talk!


  • Hey,

    Love your post and agree with everything!
    Two comments first about negative self-talk; “If we talk to oue friends as we talk to ourselves, we will have few friends!” Why don’t we talk to ourselves with the same respect we talk to others? It is as if we all suffer from Dorrett’s syndrome when we talk to ourselves!
    At a workshop I attended years ago the facilitator said that we all reist when we are “told to do” he recommended to take will and should out of our vocabulary and substitute, “love to,” “want to”, “would like to”, “looking forward to”,”so excited to” A department in a company really tried this under the leadership of their manager and the manager said that creativity and bright ideas just increased, decades old problems were solved in the wink of an eye. I am still battling o change my self-talk but I’m getting there!

  • Dawnda

    I love your posts! They are uplifting, motivating and filled with positive steps to take to keep moving forward. Congratulations on the June 7th show, that is great news!

  • Wendy Brayton

    That is wonderful news about the show! Your “personal resilience” is admirable and I like your steps on how to achieve your dreams. I have been feeling like I was drifting away from my own goals. Your advice gave me some new tools to work with. I hope Nikki was kinder to you on Thursday. Wendy

  • “Driven” is certainly not a word I’d use to describe myself! Funny – I always think, “gee, if I was just a bit more driven or motivated, I’d have accomplished a whole lot more by now!” The 8 things I talked about in my post are simply how I get through the curves life (or Nikki) throws once in awhile.

  • Kim

    Yeah, I think you have to be born with that type of drive, it kind of skipped over me somehow;) But congrats on June 7th! How exciting!

  • Catherine

    You know, if I just followed your drive I’d be speaking at the Toastmasters annual convention by now…

    Everyone loved your email btw.