Stop Standing In Your Own Way

Stop Standing In Your Own Way

A couple of years ago, I found a “free horse.”  She had been emaciated, abused, and then neglected for the first four years of her life.  Eager to provide a better home for her, I took her.

Previously, I had owned horses and I have dealt with many problem horses, but Calypso was different.  Nearly as wild as a mustang and as hungry as a fox in a hen house, I soon became quite aware that there really is no such thing as a “free” horse. She was quickly depleting my horse budget.  More than anything, though, she was eating up my time and energy.

When we brought her home, she would literally start shivering if you touched her.  As an Arabian, she had retained her spirit amongst the horses, but as soon as a human entered the pasture, it seemed to be broken and replaced entirely by terror.

I spent four hours a day with her just to get her used to human contact.  Even then, I never knew what mood she would be in when I went out.  Her mood swings were as swift and severe as a storm over the ocean.  As a result, it wasn’t long until I began to be gun-shy of her as well.

So, I consoled myself by trying to convince everyone (including me) that I was just letting her adjust.  She’d already had a hard life, why not just let her be a big puppy dog for a while?  I did some self-fulfilling searches on “training a rescue horse,” only clicking on links that seemed to give me more excuses:  The horse needed to be treated different, given extra time, it’s all about trust. 

What about respect?  I had apparently lost it in myself, and so had she.  The truth was not that the horse’s past was getting in the way, but rather that I was getting in the way.  I had let my own fears of failing completely take over and stop me from achieving anything.

I was standing in my own way, effectively immobilizing myself. 

As a perfectionist, I do this a lot.  If I know I can’t do it perfectly, I don’t want to do it at all, and I’ll spend hours doing backwards research (looking for validation that doing nothing is the right approach, I guess).  It has to be all or nothing, because mediocre is not acceptable. 

How many times do we do this with our finances?  We know the end goal we’re shooting for, but we don’t want to take the time to fix what’s wrong with our current financial reality.  Moreover, if taking control and investing won’t mean gaining all the income we want right away, we don’t even want to get started.

I finally got out of my own way, both financially and with training.  Cali and I do a little at a time, always ending on a good note, and my dividends are adding up much more quickly than I thought they would.

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Shaun's picture

Shaun wrote:

Thu, 12/09/2010 - 23:03 Comment #: 1

It's tough to persevere when something doesn't work as quickly as you want it to and procrastination is not a bad pastime when you feel this way. Glad to hear you kept going, it's amazing what you can achieve if you really try!

Thanks for sharing your story Jessica, I'm glad it had a happy ending :)

Jessica Schmeidler's picture

Jessica Schmeidler wrote:

Fri, 12/10/2010 - 02:25 Comment #: 2

I'm glad it had a happy ending, too. :) Training horses has taught me a lot about patience and perseverance--not to mention courage and self-trust. Whenever someone asks me how to attain these qualities for themselves, I suggest they volunteer at a horse rescue. Those same attributes transfer over very nicely to working from home and investing.

Friday “Feel Better” Links's picture

Friday “Feel Better” Links wrote:

Fri, 12/10/2010 - 09:01 Comment #: 3

[...] MomVesting tells you to stop standing in your own way. [...]

retirebyforty's picture

retirebyforty wrote:

Fri, 12/10/2010 - 14:43 Comment #: 4

Great story, thanks for sharing. The Mrs. would love to have a horse. :)
It sounds like a tough time was overcome by perseverance, slow and steady win the race.

Money Reasons's picture

Money Reasons wrote:

Fri, 12/10/2010 - 20:27 Comment #: 5

Great story! Slow and steady wins the race!

Good to hear that you didn't give up on the horse!

Jessica Schmeidler's picture

Jessica Schmeidler wrote:

Fri, 12/10/2010 - 21:43 Comment #: 6

@retirebyforty: Thanks. If getting a horse isn't an option, maybe she could check into volunteering once a month or something at a nearby horse rescue. The horses would love the attention! :)

@Money Reasons: You're absolutely right! :)

Aloysa's picture

Aloysa wrote:

Sun, 12/12/2010 - 03:38 Comment #: 7

I am a perfectionist myself and I know how this can stand in a way. Funny that I am trying to be perfect in so many areas of my life except personal finance. LOL Your story is trully inspiring. I never had horses (I am afraid of them) but I always admire people who have them, take care of them and are able to train them!

Jessica Schmeidler's picture

Jessica Schmeidler wrote:

Sun, 12/12/2010 - 06:35 Comment #: 8

Aww.. Thank you, Aloysa. That was very nice of you.

MR Cache 2010, Dec 11 – Year End Holiday Traditions | Money 's picture

MR Cache 2010, Dec 11 – Year End Holiday Traditions | Money wrote:

Sun, 12/12/2010 - 13:36 Comment #: 9

[...] Momvesting:  Stop Standing In Your Own Way [...]

FB @'s picture

FB @ wrote:

Sun, 12/12/2010 - 21:53 Comment #: 10

Related and unrelated, how much does taking care of a horse cost per year? I read somewhere it was $40,000 but I am curious if it is really that high or if it includes special horse-things like grooming (?) and so on.

Best of Money Carnival #85 « Richly Reasonable's picture

Best of Money Carnival #85 « Richly Reasonable wrote:

Mon, 01/10/2011 - 13:21 Comment #: 11

[...] 5. Stop Standing In Your Own Way @ Mom Vesting [...]