Every Dog has it’s Day

” It was my day.”

I wrote that in a text to a friend after cashing in at a slot race last week. I know it may come across as ignorant, but the truth is, when it’s your time, there’s not much that can or will interfere with the outcome. Realizing this has become super integral to my mental game. About the time I collected my cheque and the 1D buckle cup was when I realized just how much.

I’m pretty proud of how my mental game has progressed this year. I can say with conviction that I don’t generally get nervous. It’s pretty easy to claim that when you know exactly what’s going to happen when you run down the alley… and when I’m on Famous, I do feel that way. There are no surprises. He goes in, turns 3 barrels (if I’m not sitting deep in the turns, I look and feel like a monkey hanging on for dear life), and he runs home. Usually, the clock stops in a respectable time. It’s a cool feeling. But it hasn’t always been this way and on the day of this slot race, for some reason I had it in my head that it wouldn’t be that day either.

It started the night before. I was falling apart. For some reason, I had major anxiety and could see nothing more than second barrel crashing down and my $500 entry fee going with it. My ego was trying to convince me to break all the rules and do all the things I always preach not to do – focus on the outcome, allow the entry fee to play a factor, and let past performance bother me.

The down barrel in my thoughts didn’t surprise me, but didn’t make it any easier to push out. I’d been struggling to get Famous by that barrel. This spring he is stronger than he’s ever been and is proving to be a lot like his momma… the harder I ride, the harder he turns. Second barrel has happened to be a casualty a lot this spring and it has bothered me. Which is ridiculous. Because I know the ‘problem’ is all in my head. I’m making silly rider errors because I’m anticipating a problem, in turn… I’m actually creating a problem. Fact is, everyone hits barrels. A tipped barrel doesn’t define us. Might cost us a cheque or two… but doesn’t define us.

Being bothered by the outcome caught me off guard. And being caught off guard by that made me feel more anxious and nervous. One of the major things I’ve worked toward in the past year is feeling comfortable with any outcome. I know that Famous and I are winners. If we don’t get a cheque, it doesn’t make us any less competitive. So why was I feeling like the world would end if we didn’t win the slot race??

Thankfully, I have also worked really hard to learn and master some pretty neat mental strategies to identify and conquer these feelings. I’d share them with you… but the fact is, I’m not a mental coach. Best I can do is direct you to my saving grace – Michelle Davey and her Mental Bootcamp. This woman has been so instrumental in teaching me to believe in who I am… a winner. This program is a 6 week program that changed the way I thought. A year ago I would have been toast before I even left the house. But last week, I overcame it all to bank a really nice cheque and cross a goal off my bucket list.

I wasn’t going to post this. I had no intention of sharing my insane anxiety with the world. But, a good friend pointed something out to me. Often times we look at the winner and think that they have it all figured out. When really, sometimes, the winner went through just as much crap as anyone else. They just had strategies and tools to get past the struggles.

Something that I will share is that the one thing that is ALWAYS in the back of my mind before I run down the alley is to trust in the universe. Either it’s my day or it’s not and I have to accept that. Every dog has it’s day… yours too will come 🙂

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