Owning Crazy

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Do you own your crazy? When I launched The Mane Intent, my inner critic had a party. At my age and with my professional tenure, why would I essentially start over, launching a new business from ground zero? Why would I invest in a horse-based business with a focus on experiential learning? My ego’s biggest fear was that people would see me – after a successful corporate career in communications — as a ‘woman in mid-life crazy.’

Most people don’t understand how working with horses can help them. It’s also likely most people have no frame of reference for why they would seek out the company of a horse for their problems or issues. The stigma attached to asking for help is paralyzing; our fears keep us stuck. It’s kinda crazy, right?

I’m going to pause here and note that the word ‘crazy’ carries with it a number of definitions including “extremely enthusiastic, passionate, excited” or “appearing absurdly out of place or in an unlikely position.”

Last week I attended a two day workshop hosted by Philip McKernan called Brave Mind. As I move forward into the fifth fiscal year for The Mane Intent – I thought it would serve as a bit of a check in. Philip’s marketing materials describe this as an “intensive experience that will help give you clarity on the road ahead so you consistently make better and more authentic decisions; learn strategies to get out of your head and trust your intuition.”

I had just come from the high of our open house and 5th year celebration. It was an interesting two days that brought me right back to earth as Philip sprinkled us with a series of soul-searching questions. This was a diverse group of individuals from all walks of life and in different life stages – but I sensed it was a shared desire to make a life shift in some way that clearly drew us together.

Philip believes that “everyone has not only the ability but also a moral obligation to leave the world in a better place than when they found it.”

“When we make an impact through the lens of our own personal life, we feel alive and meaningful,” he adds, “Our legacy is a by-product of who we are, what our gift is and if we have the courage to lean into it each and every day. When we do this, we don’t have to worry about what we will leave, as it’s all about who we can touch.”

The session was a refresher for me in personal change management. You can choose to change (or not). Change makes us uncomfortable — it makes those around us uncomfortable. It takes time to move forward as we ‘zig’ from a past perception of who we were and ‘zag’ to a new expectation of who we should be. Progress is made with small incremental steps. We can listen to our inner critic or act on our inner champion. We can be motivated or discouraged by those around us. We can allow fear to hold us back.

My inner critic lives in my head. Fear of rejection and failure feeds my inner critic; it’s my ‘crazy.’
“Accept that fear is there and it will always be there,” Philip counselled, adding: “Treat fear as your guide.” (He also shared that you run the risk of people disliking you when you share your truth).

As life would have it – an exchange between two people was shared with me when I returned home. Someone I knew had suggested a visit to The Mane Intent to someone I didn’t know. The individual’s response was that she’d heard I was ‘crazy.’ (Note to self: You can’t validate this conversation and you do not have any context for the comment).

When I first heard this story however, I was hurt by it. My inner critic felt validated. She started to spin. “I told you so!” Upon further reflection – I’ve decided to own my ‘crazy.’

If working with young women to invite them to see within themselves what’s possible is ‘crazy’ – then I own it. If helping teams become more effective in working with each other, improving communications skills and supporting authenticity at work is ‘crazy’ – then I own it. If supporting individuals on a personal journey to post-trauma growth is ‘crazy’ – then I own it. If helping others experience for themselves their natural leader within is ‘crazy’ – then I own it. I embrace it.

I know for sure that the work I am doing now is what I am meant to do. I am drawing upon a lifetime of corporate and lived experience. I am doing my ‘heart’ work and it fits. It feels right. Our horses are wonderful natural coaches. It is a gift to witness the transformation that occurs when people get out of their heads and reconnect with their hearts again. How do you put a value on the power of unconditional love to heal and help those who need it most?
My greatest work is yet to come, but I’m making good progress and I’m proud of the progress we’ve made. I am leaning into fear. I am listening to my inner champion and she says “you’ve got this.”

What is your ‘crazy?’ Are you ready to own it?

About the Author: Jennifer Garland is the Owner/Program Director of The Mane Intent, offering Health and Wellness Workshops and Individual and Team Effectiveness Coaching. Jennifer’s intent is to bring horses and humans together to explore new possibilities, getting you out of your comfort zone and giving clarity of voice to your leader within. She has over 25 years of leadership experience in communications, cause-related marketing and change management. As a strategist, facilitator and effectiveness coach, Jennifer has provided counsel and support to senior leaders from all walks of life to build productive relationships, facilitate learning and to embrace change. She is a ‘socialpreneur’ who values the art of living life fully with intent.

 

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