Wednesday I saw a tornado. Up close, while trapped in my car on an elevated stretch of highway in Springfield, Mass. Scary! Funny what a random lethal event does to your head. It’s clarifying.
My sister, a fellow agnostic, asked me if I prayed. The question took me off guard, and its answer surprised me a bit: I didn’t. I’d wondered if this was “it”, and then thought, why not? I don’t live in the area, just happened to be there at that moment as I traveled to Vermont for a special event. I hoped the spinning winds wouldn’t pick up my car and toss it over, or hurl anything through the windshield. Then the funnel crossed the highway and moved on eastward, wrecking whatever lay in its path. I fought my initial impulse to flee back to the comfort of home and instead continued on my way to Vermont, but was shaken for the next day or so.
I was lucky and escaped unhurt. The wind ripped the hood off a car about a hundred feet ahead of me. Homes and businesses were destroyed. A few people were killed. So while I kept notes of each day’s training session this week, the tornado changed the focus of this week’s post. And “focus” is what it’s about.
The day of the storm, I’d been thinking about the different jobs I’ve interviewed for in the last few weeks and trying to weigh the pros and cons of each. Immediately after the tornado, I asked myself “What do you want?” and was able to clearly formulate my priorities: 1) hours, 2) pay, 3) duties, 4) stability. Suddenly change and possible loss didn’t seem as frightening, sending stability down to the bottom. And time at home with my husband and our animals, especially for routines like weekday dinners, rose to the top. I also knew that I didn’t want to struggle mightily to pay our basic expenses, and would be willing to perform less preferred duties for a bigger paycheck.
Knowing what you want is crucial to success in any area. You need to know what you’re aiming for so that you can develop and implement a plan to get there, and then avoid settling for less. Brody and I are making significant progress, and it’s largely because I have a clear picture of what I want: a calmer, more respectful, and very responsive horse I can safely ride. Every time I ask Brody to do something, I quickly evaluate his response in those terms: Is that what I want? If not, I giving him a progressively stronger cues, or continue to apply the stimulus he finds disturbing, until I get the response that I want.
So what it is that you want?