The Ideal Day is one of my favourite coaching exercises. If you can take yourself to a place where you won’t be disturbed for ½ an hour and allow yourself to step into this Ideal Day, it can lead you towards your dream.
Take a leisurely walk through a day that would be perfect if it represented your usual days – not a holiday, not a “special” day, but the very substance of your life as you would love it to be. Write this in the present tense and in detail, from getting up in the morning to going to sleep at night. Don’t put down only the possible – you have absolute freedom, unlimited means, and all the skills and power you’ve ever wished for.
Where are you? – in what kind of place, surroundings, situation? A ranch in Arizona, a London flat, a croft in the Highlands, a yacht in the Mediterranean? What are you doing? – what kind of work, what kind of play? You have no limitations in this exercise. Who do you work with, live with, talk and laugh with? These may be people you don’t already know.
I was recently cleaning out my office and found ‘The Ideal Day’ that I had written back in 2005. I was in a conference room at a hotel in Wolverhampton and this was one of the exercises during my year’s training in Life Coaching. At this time Andy, Vanessa and I were living in a small house in a village called Paulton, near Bristol. I had sold my Riding Centre (Hartley Wood) in 2003 and I was freelance riding coaching and training as a Life Coach. We had one pony who we kept 3 miles away at my Mum’s house, where she had a small field and a couple of stables.
My Ideal Day (2005)I wake up at 7am in the morning with Andy by my side and I hear Vanessa beginning to move around in her room.
I pull the curtains back to reveal another bright day; glorious sunshine fills the beautiful garden with life and light. I can hear the birds singing merrily in the trees as I open the window. I am then able to breathe in the wonderful clear, fresh, sweet smelling air. I am overwhelmed with a feeling of contentment, happiness and wellbeing.
I wash and dress and make for the kitchen to put on the kettle. I am shortly joined by Andy and Vanessa and we enjoy a leisurely breakfast and good, light-hearted discussion about our plans for the day ahead. Vanessa is shortly ready for school and off she goes to catch the coach with a spring in her step and a smile on her face as always. We take it in turns to tend to her pony/horse and this morning I am happy to look after her pony.
I consult my diary to check on the clients that I have for the day and Andy goes off to work. I then wander out across the lawn to the stable yard and see the horses and do what needs to be done – whether it’s feeding, mucking out the stables or fields, depending on the time of year.
I am living in the countryside and some of my work is done at home, either when I am coaching riders or training horses or indeed training the horse/rider combination and some away from home. My coaching practice is run from my office at home, which is an organised room, but it has a very warm, relaxing comfortable feel to it. I enjoy working from this room – it is very conducive to inspirational thinking!
I have an ideal balance of work outdoors in the lovely, fresh, country air and work indoors in the warm comforts of my office/consulting room.
My work also allows me to travel to different parts of the country and also to different parts of the world. I love travelling, meeting new people, seeing new parts of this country, seeing other parts of the world and finding out about different cultures. I love my work and I have a deep sense of satisfaction as I help horses to have a happier and healthier life and as I help riders to improve their riding ability and horse awareness. My coaching work brings new challenges every day and nothing gives me a greater thrill than to be part of my clients’ ‘light bulb’ moments!
I have the perfect work/life balance, my days are varied but my workload is such that I have plenty of time to savour every moment of the day, whether I am working or playing. My life is filled with fun and I am happy and healthy and there is an amazing sense of calm, peace and harmony surrounding me. I am active and maintain a good physique with plenty of exercise.
I have a few horses, one for Andy to ride and (if hunting is still legal) he is regularly hunting and shooting through the winter months. I have a horse that I am training towards Grand Prix level of dressage. I am having regular coaching towards this goal and now have some of the best tuition available. I have one or two other horses, at any one time that I am schooling and bringing on either of my own or for other clients.
I have a most delightful person to help me with the horses who shares a natural affinity with horses, and I have the most pleasant person to help me with the garden.
I love playing tennis, swimming, playing the piano and reading in my play time. My evenings and weekends are family time, Vanessa and I love spending time together. We ride out around the local countryside and occasionally go off to local competitions. We enjoy playing sport together, shopping and cooking together and have a wonderful relationship.
Andy is in seventh heaven now, he spends his summers fishing and shares his enthusiasm with others who enjoy his sport and in the winter months he loves his shooting. We regularly entertain and enjoy nothing more than an evening at home, wining, dining and having fun with friends. Andy and I take regular trips, both to other parts of the country and to other parts of the world. We take it in turns to choose the venue so that we support each other in our interests.
Having put the horses to bed for the evening I walk back across the lawn to our cottage. Vanessa is busy doing her homework, Andy is sitting reading the paper and drinking tea and I join him. We then enjoy the next hour preparing our evening meal and are joined by Vanessa to savour the efforts of our cooking. This is one of the most enjoyable parts of the day. We are able to share our experiences of the day, listen and learn and support each other with any difficulties. The evenings are enjoyed maybe in the garden or conservatory (in the summer), chatting, reading, listening to music. Sometimes we go out independently to spend special time with friends or family, we all have our independent social lives as well as our family ones.
How much of this dream has become a reality!
In the summer of 2006 we heard of a 3 bedroom cottage for rent, with 3 stables across the yard from the cottage and with 6 acres of land. In September 2006 we moved in. In November 2006 I bought a horse, Jack who joined Vanessa’s pony, Sabre. In 2007 we sold Sabre and Bramble arrived shortly afterwards to keep Bramble company. Legs joined the herd in November 2012.
In October 2008 I had my first session in Equine Facilitated Learning with an Eponaquest Instructor and in February 2009 I started on the training to become an Instructor myself. Here started my opportunity to travel all over the world, with my work. During 2010/2012 I travelled to Arizona, Germany and France and in 2013 have plans to travel to Germany, France and Sweden to work with people and horses.
Currently I have a wonderful balance or work and life. I have found a way of combining my love of working with people and horses, Equine Facilitated Learning, that I didn’t even know existed when I wrote this ‘Ideal Day’ in 2005! I’m able to offer this at home with my 3 lovely horses and at other venues across the country and now world!
My social life is much as described in this Ideal Day that I wrote 8 years ago. I found my wonderful friend Kate, with whom I share our new horse Legs and have two lovely ladies Nicola and Rachel who look after the garden. I am having regular riding lessons with Dorothy Marks, who is a student of Philippe Karl. Who knows whether Legs is on his way to Grand Prix level or whether another horse will come, to fulfil this part of my dream? Who knows if this is still my dream? Vanessa left school in in 2008 and trained as a Massage and Beauty therapist and now runs her own business from our home and Andy has a franchise to sell frozen meat and fish, does all the maintenance around our stables, garden and land and spends the rest of his time in the woods or at the lake.
I’m currently learning to live my dream – but it feels as though it’s time to write another one!
The moral of my story is – Follow Your Dream!