“Keep your eye on the prize” and “keep your nose to the grind stone” sound like two contradictory statement but you have to be able to do both to be successful with horses.
There are two aspects of your mindset that you need to be able to control and flip from one to the other quickly at the appropriate times. It might be impossible to do both simultaneously but the ability to switch is the skill we need to develop. Because at certain phases of our journey we need each.
Let me illustrate with a story. Just a couple of months after Bonnie and I got married we went on a camping trip in Colorado with some friends. Somehow one of us got the “bright” idea to climb the tallest mountain that we were near. (We found out later that it was over 14,000 ft)
We all looked up at the snowy peak in the distance and started on our way. As we walked we talked excitedly and had lots of energy to reach the peak. About 2 hours in we had been working hard and the excitement of getting to the top was beginning to fade. The more we looked at the peak the more we thought it would be impossible to reach.
We had made a decision to climb the mountain and that is what we did. However, our strategy to keep going changed from looking at the peak to looking at the next big rock or the edge of the meadow. Two more hours in we had switched to one step at a time, just one more step then one more. We were progressing slowly. What we had originally thought might take a couple of hours to climb had now become well over four hours and we were not even close to the top.
We continued to climb even slower, but there came a point where the peak seemed achievable again. It didn’t seem as far away as it had once seemed. We stopped and slid down a little snow bank in the middle of August and we were revived enough to carry on. There were times we had thought about turning around but now we were so close to the top that we just climbed because we knew we could make it.
In the end it took us around six hours to climb that mountain… three times longer that what we estimated… but we made it.
So, what does that tell us about reaching goals and switching perspectives. The ability to “see” our vision clearly is imperative at the outset of any goal. The clear picture of our goal motivates us to step out and try something. Without that vision we would remain in a general state of unrest, but we would not start because we wouldn’t have a place to go or even a direction to head.
As you head off toward your vision there comes a point where things begin to get hard. And the “Prize” seems to be further away than when you started. This is when you need to flip or switch perspectives and concentrate on the next step. This usually comes in the form of skill development. What are the skills and the mindset that you need to accomplish that goal? List them and start to take action.
Then again as you start getting close to your goal switch back to your vision because you see that you are almost there and it starts to give you new sense of power and renewed energy to reach the prize.
Remember that your “eye on the prize”with a clear goal can get you started and it can revive you in the end. But it is your commitment, your “nose to the grind stone”, that carries you through the tough parts. So, it is important that you learn to shift from one perspective to another in order to continue to make progress no matter what phase you are in along your horsemanship journey.