"It is in your moments of decisions that your destiny is shaped." Tony Robbins
I don't know what I was thinking when I agreed to marry into one of the most famous golf families in the world.
Golf course architects, Pete and Alice Dye, were my ex in-laws.
I couldn't stand golf. And my ex didn't ride horses.
Didn't exactly look like a match made in heaven.
Except that ...
Galloping a horse full speed across a perfect, beautifully green and pristine golf course WAS my idea of a match made in heaven.
Yup, and I mentioned that dream every time we had to visit a golf course.
So, when my ex was building one of the golf courses at the Polo Golf and Country Club here in Wellington, FL ...
He remembered that whenever I was at a golf course, all I could think about was galloping horses across it!
Which horrified both him and his parents.
But seriously, the whole point of all this scenery and beautiful, stunning grass was to hit a little ball, drive a golf cart to hit it again.
Rinse and repeat, ad nasuea for 3-4 hours?
And even pay a lot of money to be stuck there doing that?
Cognitive dissonance on that one.
I just never liked golf, didn't see the point in it, and why waste all that gorgeous green space, right?
I mean, check out those bunkers (to me, ditches) to jump over!
ALL the better, let's use it for eventing!
So, being that dream was always on my bucket list ...
When my ex and I were renting horses for the "tourist trail ride along the beach thing" down in the Bahamas ...
There it was! A golf course right there on our right!
Literally, just two horse strides away!
All the other riders had their heads turned left to enjoy the beautiful ocean.
But not me. Mine was suddenly stuck in gear in the other direction!
The "Almost Paradise" song was playing in my head.
(Also because we were, literally, on Paradise Island!)
And off I went!
Galloping away ...
But before those initial two strides towards the gof course ...
I paused for just half a second only for the purpose of justifying what I was about to do ...
Telling myself this lie that it was OK because it looked like it was a public course since the greens were in crappy condition.
So doubtful anyone would notice the hoof prints and kicked up grass, right?
My ex was there with me on that trail ride ... but we had just finished a few weeks of polo lessons a week before at ...
Casa de Campo, the famous golf resort the Dye family helped to develop in the Dominican Republic.
In fact, one of Pete Dye's most famous golf courses was built there; Teeth of the Dog.
Anyway, back to the trail ride and the obviously more fun sport of riding horses.
Fortunately, my ex had learned a few basic skills about riding horses from those polo lessons.
Like how to HALT and prevent his horse from following me!!!
Cause, you know, respecting golf courses was (sadly) a RULE permantely imprinted in his genes ...
So he couldn't believe that I actually did do what I did that day!
Having told me for years, ad nauea, that there is a RULE against that.
"Nancy, there are polo fields here on every corner in Wellington. Why do you need to also gallop a horse on a golf course?" he asked me.
I had no answer, of course. I actually thought it was a pretty solid question.
But I did have my suspicions that my inner rebel was perhaps holding the reins on that desire of mine.
My ex was REALLY PISSED OFF about my ripping up a golf course.
And no, the fact that it was a public course that looked like it wasn't even being used anymore was NO excuse for doing what I did.
(So evidently, unlike the English grammar, there were no execeptions to the RULES?)
Right. No exceptions. No debating. No justifying.
JUST FOLLO THE RULES!
(Right, so no wonder my inner rebel was triggered! I just HATED rules!)
But what he was REALLY more concerned about was that ...
He witnessed first hand absolutely NO attempt, what-so-ever, on my part ...
To first STOP and THINK through what I was contemplating doing ...
(Which is different from a few short seconds to pause ONLY for the purpose of justifing what you WANT TO DO.)
BEFORE doing it.
You know, the brakes. We equestrians would call that a HALT.
(Kinda scary, right?)
NO BRAKES. NO SELF CONTROL.
To be honest, I just did a half-halt ... or what cops call a "California stop" which is really just a soft touch on the brakes, but not coming to a full stop where the car rocks back.
I know of this ONLY because I actually got a ticket for it, so I had to ask the two cops that pulled me over what the hell they were talking about!
But basically, your car is still in gear in the forward motion. You essentially just slowed down and PRETENDED to follow the rules!
It's a fake stop. Fake news!
Your REAL intention was just to LOOK LIKE you are stopping ... kinda going through the motions ...
(Think a fake pass in football.)
But in reality, you keep going exactly where and how you were going ... that "gear" was still in drive.
Fast forward to being back in Wellington, FL, ... just a few months later ...
The Dye's original brilliant idea of preventing people from riding on the golf course by installing a designated bridle path along the fairways at the Polo Club ...
Was enhanced with engineering and building the bridle paths WITH fencing ...
And THAT was the solution the average architects creating golf courses in an equestrian community might not have thought of.
But yes, my husband and in-laws now knew ... "the grass is always greener on the other field" is too tempting for equestrians!
So fencing went up FOR PREVENTION. JUST IN CASE SOMEONE LOST THEIR F...CKING MINDS AND TRIED IT!
Just in case riders didn't have the INNER STREGTH AND MENTAL SKILLS to do a FULL HALT as a pattern interupt to automatic temptations and dreams.
And just as important, to then actually execute step 2 during that FULL STOP and think through ALL sides of the desires/decisions.
You know, little details like CONSEQUENCES.
Or a solid PLAN B in case the first decision doesn't work out.
What is the point of me telling you this story?
"It is in your moments of decisions that your destiny is shaped." Tony Robbins
Our personal rules for our lives is like the fencing along a bridle path.
It keeps us on track!
If we are Equestrian Rockstars, what are we placing a high value on and what are we placing a low value on?
Staying CONSISTENTLY committed to our training program and growing and getting better ...
And winning ...
Or going out drinking and partying the night before a competition?
How to do we build that fence that keeps us focused on that path to achieving our mission ... and to not get distracted?
What keeps us from running away from mistakes, failures or the dread of a conversation we don't want to have?
What stops us from instinctively taking off after a fox ... to chase an tempting desire?
Answer: our decisions to deploy daily rituals for mental skills to build inner strength, discipline, and resiliency.
What are our NEW rules about staying committed to them so we can rewire our brains with a new bridle path ...
Which represents NEW automatic habits of thoughts and behaviors based upon the new identity?
Rules and rituals are the fencing that we install to keep us from galloping away on greener pastures!
Rituals are the ACTION STEPS that is "walking the talk" or living the dream.
Remember that the two bridle paths ... old habits and the new habits ...
They do NOT lead to the same destination.
And caution; the Old Bridle Path has fencing too.
This is why we are stuck in our old habits, stories, and identities.
Don't believe that? Not seeing the rules/fencing that is keeping you stuck?
That is because many times, our old rules are the invisible fencing along that bridle path.
Shocking truth, I know. (Forgive the pun.)
And that is why we are stuck there.
That is the whole problem, in fact, with any addiction or stuck patterns of thoughts or behaviors.
The fencing that is keeping us stuck has a lot of subconscious (invisible) rules such as ...
"We can eat or drink or do whatever, whenever; depending upon how we feel."
Or "I can take this 'not well thought out" risk, personally/professionally/financially, and it will all magically work out the way I want."
In fact, the underlining rule beneath THAT rule is; "Don't HALT and make a good decision; do a half-halt and justify/lie to yourself instead.
And just keep going with the original thought and desire.
So we Do need the courage (and a forward motion with a strong, collected pace) to jump over THAT "in denial" and invisible fencing of rules to ...
Gallop over to the NEW bridle path!
But it starts with a decision to make new rules that will help us to ride forward to that new path ...
And then to stay committed to the new path and not gallop back to the old bridle path!
New Rule: I am not doing this old identity/thoughts/beliefs/values/behaviors anymore.
This is just not who I want to be.
Over there ... the Equestrian Rockstar bridle path ...
The fearless and confident rider that places and wins ...
YES! Now THAT is who I AM going to become!
NEW RULE: get in gear and ride foward towards that well thought out, intentional direction that matches my goals and who I want to be.
Let's jump THIS old fence and gallop on over to that new path!
And since I much prefer the destination the NEW bridle path leads to ...
NEW RULE: I'm building a STRONG fence along THAT new bridle path so I never ...
End up back at this old one.
This old lifestyle, mindset, and rules are history.
I'm ready to write and ride my new one.
I'm building NEW rules to keep me focused on becoming, and consistently performing as an Equestrian Rockstar.
Breakthrough Mental Skills Coach
Emotional Strength & Resiliency Trainer