The focus of attending the recent Petro-Canada Sport Leadership Conference held in Calgary November 7th through 9th was the power of maintaining a positive team focus.
Dressage is an individdual sport, but the barn you train at fosters a team.
The group of experts you work wlith to better yourself and your horse is a team, if you are a sponsored rider, you are part of a team, you and your horse are a team.
The relevance of a positive team environment in sport is measurable success. The cost of even one negative team member is so great, it can and will sink even the grandest ship of confidence. This is fact.
If there is one negative person at your side, subversion occurs.
It doesn’t mean everyone has to walk around with false smilles and be happy happy. Most of us who ride and compete in dressage are in a mature demagraphic and know when we hear negative barn talk, explicitly or inferred about another trainer, coach, rider, horse, farrier…etc.
Be a “fly on the wall” at the barn and take notice of the comments made and heard. Notice who on your team is positive and who may need a tuning in. The head coach at a facility would be the likely candidate to discuss the negativity with the team member privately. In most instances the negative person may not even realize the potential impact of the discourse. If there is a question or conflict at a barn there needs to be a clear path of communication directed at the authority with the power to act on the situation. That’s not negativity, that’s good business. It’s the sly comments, or inferred remarks of general negativity that cause teams to fail. Be mindfull in your speech…by all means “say what you mean and mean what you say” and direct any questions or concerns to the right people.
Be proactive, positive and bring your best to the barn. Your horses and your training deserve it.
Jon Gordon presented a “Positive Team Pledge” during his keynote address to the crowd of elite coaches and administrators. I have modified its contents to fit equestrian sport:
The Positive Equestrian’s Pledge
I pledge to be a positive leader who sets the example for other equestrians through my positive energy and actions.
I promise to share positive energy and encouragement within equestrian sport
I will not be an energy vampire nor will I sabotage myself and my horse with negativity, complaining and excuses.
When I make a mistake I will own it and seek to improve.
When I’m not riding well I will stay positive and strive to get better.
When I experience self-doubt I will remember a time when I succeeded.
When I feel fear I will choose faith.
When I face adversity I will find strength.
When we experience a defeat I will choose to stay positive andd prepare to achieve another victory.
With hard work, determination and faith, I will never give up and will always help my horse forward towards our vision and goals.
Today and every day I will be positive and strive to make a positive impact in our sport.
Jon Gordon is a motivational speaker and has made his success by building winning teams in professional sports.