A Professional Image

In my articles and social media presence I have been fairly candid about my struggles, failures and successes too. My entire career I have been told to shed a positive light on my work and always put my best foot forward. Well meaning friends and professionals urged me never to show insecurity, lack of knowledge, or any unprofessional demeanor. Dress the part, either breeches at a dressage barn or a cowboy hat, depending on the crowd I’m trying to impress. They urged me to control photos and videos uploaded of me, watch what i say, and don’t ever ever come across like you don’t know something.

I tried this for a while, and felt insincere and cheap. It’s exhausting pretending anything, and those of you who know me know Im not much for fashion. Also as my students ran into their own struggles, I felt I couldn’t help them if I couldn’t share my own failures. I realized that there is a divide between teacher and student where the teacher portrays himself as all knowing and the student at times feels hopeless, as if his or her humanness is preventing them from getting better at riding.

One day I just dropped the act. I started sharing my failures with my students, and writing about my own struggles as I develop my career.for me, it’s important for my own development as well as others to look at our egos in the face. Everyone has one, and at best we can “not disturb the sleeping dog.” Sometimes we get humbled, sometimes we struggle to accept lessons or miss them. No one is exempt from the journey, only those who refuse to accept their own flaws. Teacher and student alike are learning, and one is not better than the other. I am a teacher, but I am a student too, and I go through the same discomforts and insecurities learning as everyone else.

When we’re willing to get down to the nitty gritty of our inner selves and really look at our habits and beliefs, then we can make real and lasting changes. I’m right there with you.

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