This past week was a bit of an excited, action-packed blur. My father came out for a visit from California. He spent a great deal of his younger life in Maryland, working and having a family, but during the last 30 years, he has been living in California. And even though my dad has kept in touch with many of his friends via email, Facebook, and phone calls, he has not been back to Maryland since he left.
So, this trip was a blast from the past full of visiting our old home, lots and lots of old friends, parties, and of course lots of sightseeing. It’s amazing what you can do in one week!
With all that excitement though, I have to say my favorite part of the visit was spending time with my dad at my home working on a “fix it” project. When I was a child, and during my teenage years, my father and I used to do all sorts of projects around the house together. I was the firstborn and an only child for 8 years, so I was his second set of eyes and hands for anything around the house that needed fixing. I loved it! Daddy and daughter projects.
Even though my mother probably freaked out most of the time when we did these projects together, I think she realized how special they were to me. My father and I are very much alike in how we thought, engineer kind of brains thinking quite linear. However, my mother was a very creative, circular kind of thinking person. So, when my mother came home and saw that my father’s idea of babysitting was working with me on roof repairs and found me casually walking around on the roof at age 8, she wasn’t so happy. But my father had absolute confidence in me that I was not going to jump off the roof or slip, plus he could actually “watch” me.
I’ve always joked about my father is just like “Tim the Tool man” on the show Home Improvement. He is very handy and there is nothing I don’t think my dad couldn’t figure out how to fix, even if there were a few extra parts lying around afterward. I even called him on the phone last October to walk me through how to fix the hot water heater. “But don’t forget to hit it with the hammer to release the pressure”, he said. And yes, it actually worked great.
You’ve read in earlier blogs how I painted the entire house just to get it ready for my father’s visit. I was so excited to have him come out to my new home and see me and my horses that I also fixed up a few extra things, got the landscape all done, the backyard cleaned up, and the pool spotless. But…
There was one project I just HAD to save for my father.
As much as I love to learn new things and try to be perfect at everything I do, I’ve learned that everyone has their ‘specialty’ and that you can’t be great at everything all the time. I’ve had to learn what I’m good at and what I’m NOT good at. I’ve also learned to surround yourself with the right people…the ones that know their strengths. When you have a group of people, or even one other person, that all have different strengths working towards one goal, problems and issues can be resolved much more quickly and easily.
I might be very comfortable fixing little things around the house, but when it comes to electrical issues…not so much. However, my father is really good at the tougher home improvement projects too, like electrical wiring. I also think he was happy I asked for his help, and that I still needed his help.
I think one of the hardest lessons I’ve learned in my life, was learning that sometimes I needed to ask for help. Once I learned that I just needed to find the right person to ask for help. I’m not going to ask a plumber to put in a new roof.
So, when my father came to the house I asked him to help me with the one project that I just wasn’t comfortable doing myself. He was very happy to help and we started right away. It was funny because I said, “sometime this week, while you’re here, can we put in this new ceiling light”? And my father said, “sure, let’s look at it right now”.
The project I saved for my father was replacing an old ceiling light fixture with a brand new one. He knew exactly what to do and as I stood there reading the instructions, to myself, and holding the light for my father, he went right to work. What took him 30 minutes, would have taken me hours and I probably wouldn’t have done it 100% correct anyway. So, I was very happy with the expert help.
But on top of asking the right person for the job and getting the project done…my father explained everything to me so the next time I needed to do this I’d have the knowledge and the confidence to do it myself. So, he became a kind of mentor to me as well. And that’s what he did when I was a child helping him with the many home improvement projects.
That has actually meant more to me than “getting the job done”. The time he took to explain what and why he was doing what he was doing and the confidence and strength he gave me to feel more competent in my own abilities was priceless! The feelings that he left me with after the “job was done” were much more important and lasting than the job itself.
Now, how does this relate to horses you say?…
Well, think about it…
Have you ever asked someone to help you with something to do with your horse?
- Did you call the Vet when your horse was sick and take his advice? This helped your horse, but it also gave you a reference to use at a later date when you saw the same thing happen again or even to a different horse.
- Have you had a trainer teach you how to ride your horse? I’m sure if you did, you have used that knowledge and adjusted it where you needed with different horses during your lifetime.
- Have you asked a horse friend or a stable buddy about feeding or if something looked out of place with your horse? That information then went into your ‘toolbox’ of information that you could then use again at a later date, right?
- When you purchased your first horse, did you have a friend or horse person help pick out the ‘right’ horse for you? Then as you grew in knowledge and decided to get another horse, didn’t you use that knowledge to choose another horse on your own?
It’s these wonderful moments when we find or choose a mentor that can help us, someone who is an expert in whatever we are searching for at the time, that makes up our lifetime knowledge base and gives us the confidence and competence to start doing it on our own.
Teachers, family, and friends can all be mentors during our lifetime. For the mentors in my lifetime, I am forever grateful and thankful. Take a moment and think of all those that have helped you become YOU and those that are still helping you.
Every week take some time out of the hectic busy days that just seem to fly by and stop and think of at least one mentor that has given you a precious gift of knowledge, confidence, and competence.
Even better…when you are just hanging out with your horse and looking for a way to calm down and bring more positivity into your lesson, think of one of these mentors then. Bring that good memory and gratitude into that moment in time and take a deep breath. It will do wonders for both you and your horse. It will also keep you more focused on your lesson because it will bring your mind and body together at that moment, here and now.
I do what I do and I love what I do because of my passion to help the horse. However, I am grateful to be given the opportunity to help other horse enthusiasts as a mentor too. I really enjoy sharing my experiences with horses to help where I can in writing these blogs. But, I also really enjoy mentoring students to be the best person they can be for their horse and showing them the magic a truly deep relationship can bring them and their horse.
So, just to recap:
- If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask
- If you ask, find the ‘right’ person to ask for your specific situation
- Make sure the ‘right’ person is also a mentor for you and your horse
I hope you find the perfect mentors during your lifetime and that you and your horse become perfect partners for each other.