The Peer Group Challenge

If I were to die today, would I die proud of myself and the life I have lived? Would they use my life as a shining example? Or as a dire warning? “Do you want to be like Ellie when you grow up? Do you? Do YOU!?”

Imagine the little, pink pyjama wearing people …

I don’t need that on my conscience in the afterlife’s eternity. So I must become shinier.

I wonder how one goes about that? What shifts do I have to make?

As if by magic (or my Amygdala doing her thang), Life Coaches and Self-Help Gurus started appearing everywhere. Robin Sharma. I quite liked him. Eric Ho. Sometimes brilliant, sometimes worrying. Then Peter Sage appeared talking about procrastination, self-sabotage, raising your standards, and improving your peer group.

I saw his advert for the “Five-Day Change Your Peer Group and Change Your Life Challenge” and gave it a go. A challenge within a challenge.

Peter says we are “… way more a product of [our] environment than [we] are probably giving credit to. And it would, therefore, make sense to ask the quality question – if that is the case, what is the biggest influential factor in my environment? The one that has the biggest impact on who I am? … As social creatures, it is the people who we surround ourselves with.”

Bugger! I live in a field.

A very big field

But I will not let that deter me. In this day of computers and podcasts and YouTube videos, my peer group can be famous riders from around the globe!! Plus, I have already stalked one into submission and now work for her. Mooo ha ha! (My evil plan is working.)

I will not take you through every morsel of this 5-day course but will just share the bits I feel are pertinent to my personal quest of becoming an international showjumper before I die. Which I hope will be awhile yet. If you want to learn more, the headings below are also links to his challenge.

The Criteria Challenge

He asked us to compile a list of qualities we wished members of our ideal peer group to have. Here is mine:

  • Must compete at a higher level than me
  • MUST see the funny side of life
  • Pragmatic
  • Positive “can-do” attitude
  • THERE IS NO BOX! And glasses are re-fillable
  • Kind
  • Motivated and motivating. Inspired and inspiring
  • Direct and unambiguous

He then asks, based on that list, who are you willing to lose? Well, negative people, obviously. And those with a Crab Bucket Mentality Also those not capable of helping to create a supportive environment.

The Mindset Challenge

I worry about my mindset. I worry I lost it. Broke it. Drowned it in Cote du Rhone. Not what he meant. He is talking about money. I am clueless about money. I am in La La Land skipping merrily about and when I need something, it just arrives in my lap. I needed gloves one day when I was cycling in the snow, then found a pair on the road. I have no idea why this happens, but I am very grateful and I say thank you a lot to the ether.

Peter talks about financial mindsets. He is an entrepreneur, after all. But if you change the word “money” or “wealth” for the phrase “riding ability” everything he says still makes perfect sense.

We possibly limit our potential riding ability simply because we feel we are not worthy.

“… this is critical if you want to upgrade your peer group. It’s not that rich people only hang around with rich people and, therefore, if you don’t have the money, you can’t join the gang. It’s that people with a rich mindset hang around with people with a rich mindset.”

Peter Sage – Day 2 of the 5 Day Challenge

It is not the level you are riding at that will determine the quality of your peer group. It is your beliefs about what you are capable of, given the chance. “Outer world follows inner world.”

For this challenge, Peter asks us to audit our limiting beliefs and question what beliefs we have in relation to money (riding ability) and other people who have more of it. Are we jealous? In awe? Made aware of what is possible?

Then, finally, he asks us to create a Gratitude List and add to it daily. I sort of already do this. I occasionally get off a horse, kiss the floor and repeatedly say “thankyouthankyouthankyou! I’M ALIVE!”

Aim Before You Fire

Set your sights and your intentions in a specific direction. “Clarity is Power”. You don’t go to the train station and try to buy a ticket to “not here”, do you? I want to be an international showjumper. You may have figured this out already. It is as much who I am now as it is where I want to be. It is my Identity. Many people think I am deluded. But I have noticed that bit by bit, I am actually getting nearer to my goal – as if by osmosis. How much nearer would I get if I actively sought to improve my peer group?

Are any International Show Jumpers reading this? Do you want to be my friend? My heart and mind are aligned as advised in this day’s lesson, even though I was not exactly sure how to apply all the advice to showjumping.

Mastermind A Common Vision

“If you want to raise your peer group, raise the level you swim at in the ocean of energy in order to surround yourself with better quality fish. Then raise the quality of your consciousness by raising the quality of your values or at least the time you spend connected to them.”

Peter Sage – Day 4 of the 5 Day Challenge

Very Zen. And it makes sense. Who would want to spend time with someone who gives off bad vibes and has absolutely no moral fibre? Not me. I want to be with positive, high-energy people who know about unconditional love, compassion, humility, etc. I want to be that person too. Peaceful and forgiving. I might need a bit of work here, guys.

His next point is hugely relevant for us showjumpy people. Accountability. “People who hire personal trainers get better results in the gym than those who don’t.”

I know I have come on in leaps and bounds since Louise has coached me. Even if there are sizeable gaps between sessions because of foul weather. It just seems easier to maintain momentum when you can chat to someone about what you are working on that day or that week. I think there is also a need to not let yourself down in front of another person. A need to limit how often your coach face-palms and shakes her head.

The Tack Room Challenge

Peter Sage visualizes himself going into a lift (elevator). While he is travelling up to the penthouse, he mentally prepares himself, ie, looking in the mirror, adjusting his tie, etc. The doors open and he sees floor-to-ceiling windows and all his mental mentors sitting at an enormous conference table. Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, and Master Yoda, there was.

Gonna do this tomorrow. With a couple of large bales of hay and some planks. See animation at the end of this article.

He visualizes walking in, sitting at the head of the table, a topic he wants advice on held in his mind. He asks each of his mentors … and is amazed at what comes back to him from what quantum physicists would call “The Field”.

I have a field! You saw the photo. But I will not visualize a boardroom. I am going to visualize A Tack Room. And my elevator shall be a green lane (possibly muddy). To prepare myself, I shall ensure my wellies are still on my feet and not left behind in the sludge.

I get to the tack room. Standing around chatting and drinking are Geoff Billington (wearing a pink polka-dotted flamenco dress complete with that wimple-type head-thingy thing), Nick Skelton, Roger-Yves Bost, and Louise Morley (phone in hand, showing the others photos of this year’s crop of Super-Foals).

I wasn’t sure how to do this, so researched more about the technique and did it as I was falling asleep. I snuggled up in bed with more cats than are mine and imagined myself walking up the lane again towards the tack room. Several YouTube videos suggested being serious and respectful towards your chosen councillors, so Geoff was no longer cross-dressing.

I politely asked advice on how to maintain training momentum when the weather was as awful as it has been. To sleep perchance to dream …

… lorry after lorry arrived with gravel first, then sand. We fought against the howling gale and slashing rain as we emptied barrow after barrow in heaps about the four sides of the house. It seemed like a never-ending task. Faces stinging and fingers frozen, we battled on long into the night. Dawn came as we were nearing completion. The sand, raked evenly and beautifully despite the torrent, creating a moat-like track around the house which was pretending castle-ness…

Suddenly loud music caused my arm to shoot up towards my phone, causing a big tin box to land on my nose. I sat up in bed and said:

“Oh! You bloody stupid woman! The sand and gravel were for a schooling arena!”

As promised above, my imaginary lesson with Nick Skelton

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