Stress Management

Wisdom from the Herd: Efficiency

I am starting a new series on our blog post and youtube channel sharing the wisdom of the herd.

Over the last 12 years of me facilitating in the realm of equine guided coaching and running horse medicine retreats for my clients, I gained some incredible wisdom that has positively impacted my life and those of my clients.

I want to bring these teachings out into the world more deeply and so this series began.

This week, I hosted a women’s business empowerment retreat for women entrepreneurs at my retreat center and facilitated an equine guided coaching experience with them.

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The theme that emerged for them (and for me as well) was the theme of efficiency.

As prey animals, horses are highly efficient with their energy output and consumption. They have to be---for survival.

In nature, it will not serve a horse well to have a lower energy reserve because they have to make sure they are able to flee when a predator comes.

Even though horses are domesticated, they still operate with this prey survival mode.

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As human beings, we are not super-efficient with our energy output. We are constantly leaking our energy on future worries or fears, holding onto the past, or feeding assumptions that we build in our minds.

We struggle with stress, burn out, and fatigue because we have not learned how to be efficient with our energy.

What I have learned from horses and from the wisdom which came through this weekend for these women is how important it is for us to be conscious of how we are utilizing and wasting our energy.

When we are holding space for big things, or even just navigating through life, our energy is essential to being able to put action, focus and direction into achieving our goals, or simply just living a life that isn’t filled with stress and fatigue.

As an entrepreneur myself, and having a full life, I have had to learn this lesson the hard way. I had to understand that efficiency is something that is deeply important to my own personal well being and that of my business.

Think about this for a second... How much energy do you consume on your stress? Worry? And on fears of something that hasn’t happened yet, or happened in the past?

Do you notice yourself experiencing dips in your energy level, or flirting with the edges of burn out on a constant level?

Does stress impact your health? Do you find you have less time to enjoy your life? Foggy mind? Frustration or short temper in communication?

Do you avoid conflict, and then, stress about it?

Do you feel as if you are constantly running on empty or low fumes? Never able to fill up the way you need to?

All of these are symptoms of lack of efficiency in our energy, or knowing how to be sacred keepers of our focus.

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It is just as detrimental to our survival to not be efficient in our own output of energy. We may not be prey animals who have to think about having energy to flee, but we do need to be at an optimal level to achieve what we desire in our lives without burning ourselves out and sacrificing our happiness.

So how do we become more efficient and pull this lesson forward in our lives?

For the women this weekend, we spoke about listening to when we feel we need to rest. It is really easy for us as entrepreneurs to get into this hustle mode where we think we have to work all the time to get ahead.

Our brain and our operating systems that we have been raised in will push us in this way, telling us that the only way to get what we desire is to work really hard and sacrifice ourselves.

But this way of being is not actually efficient, or productive to achieving the level of success we seek.

When we are depleted and running on empty, we really don’t have the capacity to create what we need, serve our clients, our business, our family, or ourselves.

To be efficient, we need to pay attention to our rhythms, to listen to when we feel we need to eat, rest, and create.

All aspects of this process are important to honor because this is what fills our tank.

It is not lazy to rest. It is serving to your energy and efficiency to do so.

In my own journey, I have also fallen into the trap of work harder, and push myself, and that almost killed me, literally.

It took me getting trampled by one of my horses to snap out of it, and listen to where I was abandoning my own needs for self care and rest.

Now I pay attention. When my body is telling me to rest, I take a break.

I have created my days in a way that serves my most optimal and efficient energy output. I understand what it looks like in my own rhythms of when I am most productive and when I need to break.

Eating when I feel hungry (and knowing how to recognize it), drinking enough water and giving my physical self what it needs is super important.

On a mental level, I have created boundaries around how long I allow myself to stress or worry about something.

I don’t think it is realistic for us to not worry or stress at all, but we need to be mindful of how much time is spent here.

For example, if something is stressing me out, or I need to have a little worry session, I put a time limit on it. This looks like for me saying, Ok, for 30 minutes you can stress about this and then you need to let it go.

I also look at what is causing the stress and what is going to relieve it. Is it delegating the issue to my staff, recognizing that it is an issue that is better suited to their zone of genius?

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I will tell you as a leader of a business the importance of delegating and letting go of tasks that create stress for me has been essential.

Holding a practice of mindfulness so that I am aware of my thoughts is also key because we lose so much energy on the thoughts we feed in our minds all the time.

Developing a practice where you are tending to your mental mind is key to a more efficient use of your energy.

Emotional agility and health.

What often happens when we get really busy, or we are full in our lives, is we bypass our emotions.

I am guilty of this one as well.

There is a lot of energy that gets wasted and consumed on our emotions that go left untouched or ignored that depletes us.

I have created a practice in my life where I check in with myself at the end of the day. How am I really feeling?

Did something happen today that bothered me?

Was I triggered somewhere?

The first 3 years after I bought this ranch, I was in survival mode. I created no space for myself to feel. I was on autopilot. I was also exhausted a lot of the time and was bypassing my emotions all over the place.

I didn’t always realize what a toll building and sustaining my vision, and things that were happening in my day-to-day where having on me. I didn’t think it was important for me to sit with what was happening, and it caught up with me.

We don’t often appreciate our sensitivity, or how things impact us until it shows up in a health crisis or breakdown. If we create time in our day each day to do a simple check in, to have someone we can talk to if we need it, we'll save ourselves a lot of energy and grief in the long run.

If you are a coach or a facilitator... we don’t always appreciate what we carry for our clients as well. Checking in to clear ourselves of holding energy that doesn’t belong to us is also an important aspect of tending to our emotional efficiency. (I spoke to this on another video you can check that out here).

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Efficiency is a way of living and it is a practice. I have learned, though, what helps me to be devoted to some of the practices I spoke to up there is to understand the impact on me if I don’t do it.

Click here to read another perspective on Why Rest is the Secret to Entrepreneurial Success.

Whether you are a woman entrepreneur who is seeking to create her success without burnout, and sacrifice to your personal health...

Or someone who holds big spaces in her lives in another capacity with family or career...

Our efficiency is going to support our ability to be able to hold space for all of this and ourselves.

I created my success through burnout only to understand that wasn’t really success. I was unhappy, stressed out with little time in my life to devote to my own health and relationships. It didn’t align to my values of how I wanted to live.

Taking this lesson to heart has created more spaciousness for me, intuitive creating that empowers my natural way of being in the world, and time for relationships, friends and family that are deeply important to me.

I am also just a happier human, as will you be.

Efficiency is a powerful teaching gathered from the herd which also has deep application to our own operating systems as human beings.

For further interest…

For my women entrepreneurs who resonate with this post and are interested in experiencing horse wisdom for yourself, check out our horse wisdom for Business Mastery Retreat happening in June. Click the link below for more information.

Women Who Run with Horses: Business Mastery Retreat

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