Hi, I’m Sophie, the founder and owner of Evergreen Coaching. I am an equestrian mindset coach working with riders and business owners in the equine and rural sector. 

I work with lots of different equestrians and I think that mindset is often something which is not given enough attention in the industry or people know they should do more of it, but think it’s a bit ‘fluffy’. Being an equestrian myself, I really understand where they are coming from as that used to be me. However, when I started mindset work and realised just how powerful it could be, I started to wonder why on earth I hadn’t been told about it earlier. I was frustrated with all of the things I had struggled with for so many years, which actually could have been resolved simply with some mindset work. So my message to you, don’t wait! Get started on your mindset now, because success is 80% mindset, so without it, you’re probably going to struggle.

Here are some of my top tips for getting started with your mindset:

Be careful what you are telling yourself

Your subconscious brain does not know what is true and what is false, it simply believes everything you tell it. And I mean everything. Whether that’s you consciously saying ‘I’m rubbish at that’ or those little thoughts which creep in during the course of the day, which you barely notice like a ‘what if I fell off and broke my leg and couldn’t work’. When you consider that you think tens of thousands of thoughts a day, if you allow the majority to be negative, your brain will believe those stories and it will recreate that negativity because it believes that’s what you want. Afterall, that negativity is what you’ve been focussing on!

Alter your automatic thought process

Would you like to be in control of your thoughts, rather than allowing your thoughts to be in control of you? There’s a great exercise I get all of my 1-2-1 clients to do which is really powerful and becomes automatic for you after time. Try writing down any negative thoughts which enter your head throughout the day, particularly if they are ones which make a regular appearance! Once you have written them down, cross them out (that can be really cathartic!). Then, rewrite the same sentence as a POSITIVE version of itself. An example might be “I am really frightened of riding in open spaces”. Cross that out and rewrite “I am confident with riding in open spaces”. You might also like to add to it by saying “I am confident with riding in open spaces and I know that I have the physical and mental ability to overcome any challenges I face on that ride”.

It may feel strange at first, but the more you do it, the easier and more natural it becomes. Eventually, you will correct yourself in your head before you even need to write it down. You can write it on your phone or on paper and you can do it throughout the day or even at the start or end of the day.

Have a routine in the morning and at night

Do you go to sleep having spent the last few hours scrolling through social media or watching the news? And then you wake up and check your phone straight away? In the first and last waking hour of the day, your brain is like a sponge. It takes in everything you see and hear and it imprints it. Think of it like a filing cabinet – it takes in all of those things and stores it in a locked cabinet. Your brain likes to keep everything safe, so if you think you’re going to go into that filing cabinet later and remove those negative documents easily, you’re wrong!

It’s so easy to watch the news, check Facebook and then go to sleep, but a lot of the time (especially at the moment!) the news is negative and parts of social media are too. So imagine if everything you are feeding your brain is negative – it ends up believing that the only way to live is negatively. Instead, what I like to do is create a ‘routine’. As I go to bed for the night, I look at myself in the mirror and congratulate myself on what went well during the day. Some days that’s much easier than others depending on what’s happened. Some days it might be something as simple as “well done for not spilling your morning cup of tea down your white jeans!”. Once in bed, I then spend 15-30 minutes reading a book. I’m currently reading one on success mindsets, which puts me in a really positive frame of mind when I fall asleep. 

When I wake up, I resist the urge to look at my phone. I write down a list of things I’m grateful for, five things I’d love to achieve this week/month/year and a list of affirmations (see the next point). I also then do a short 5 minute guided meditation (I use YouTube) and if I’ve got time, I’ll read some more of my book.

What you believe is what you can achieve

Affirmations are positive “I am…” statements. If we think back to my first point, that your brain believes what you tell it, you can tell it anything and that will come true. Afterall, according to the law of attraction (a universal law, just like gravity); ‘what you believe is what you can achieve’. So, in the morning and throughout the day, start reciting affirmations to yourself like ‘I am a confident rider’, ‘I am confident in my business and the ability to create abundance for myself, ‘I am going to attract so many dream customers today”.

At first, you might feel yourself saying ‘I am a confident rider…well, I’m not really, but I’ll just keep saying it and hope it comes true’. If that’s the case, tell the negative part of you to stop, because after all, it’s not useful, it’s not getting you closer to actually being confident, and keep repeating the affirmation.

A really important part of affirmations is attaching emotion to each statement. Without feeling, thoughts are not powerful. And right now, your negative emotion is much stronger than your positive emotions. So when you’re reciting your affirmations, try to think of a time in the past when you have felt confident. If you’re not able to do that, imagine a time in the future when you will be confident. How would that make you feel to have that confidence? To ride whenever and wherever you want to? To have dream clients contacting you left, right and centre, wanting to pay you.

If you struggle to think of affirmations, type ‘confidence affirmations’ into YouTube, there are several examples on there.

Deep breathing

I think a lot of us, particularly riders, really underestimate the power of deep breathing. A lot of the time we are in a rush, and we usually put our horse first. How often do you stop and take a deep breath before even getting on the mounting block? Or stop at the yard gate and take a deep breath before going onto the road? Perhaps you have a fear of cantering on a hack – do you just go trotting along and then straight into canter in a panic?

If you own a business, perhaps you go into a meeting in a bit of a flap, you’ve been frantically answering emails and now you’ve got to present to a new potential stockist, but you’re also thinking about a negative email you were sent this morning. You need to reset, otherwise that emotion will show through in your meeting.

You have two pathways in the body – one which handles the calm and relaxed you and the other which handles your fight or flight response. The two of them cannot act together. Therefore, if you make sure one is active, the other is automatically suppressed. Your body’s default setting in a stressful situation is to breathe faster and with more shallow breaths. The part of your brain which handles your stress response (the amygdala) sends out messages to your hormones to respond to the stress. Once this response has begun, your brain no longer thinks rationally and it can trigger a snowball effect of negativity.

By breathing deeply, you release more carbon dioxide into the blood stream, which tells your amygdala to be calm. These deep breaths cause your body to believe that it doesn’t need to be stressed in this situation and you will now be able to think more rationally and will feel more in control of the situation you are in.

Sophie from Evergreen Coaching is a certified Life Coach and NLP Practitioner supporting riders and business owners master their mindset to overcome challenges, achieve success and accomplish their dreams.

You can find out more about Sophie on her website: www.evergreenmindsetcoaching.com, Instagram: Instagram.com/evergreencoaching_ or email Sophie directly on [email protected]

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