The Over Thinker

I’ve been struggling lately with feelings of inadequacy. In my dressage life it’s the whole concept of being a good dressage rider. I ride my mare and wonder if she’s meeting the bit correctly, am I pushing her too hard/not hard enough? Why can’t I get my middle section to stop flopping like a hinge?!

Maybe the issue is that I question my own judgement too much and I’m too insecure about my abilities.

This feeling of inadequacy fills my work life. I can’t escape it. I work a job that is high-stress, low reward. And this job demands that I constantly learn new technologies, new languages, new ways of doing things, every single day or I will become obsolete.  My boss makes sure to determine how well I’m doing by comparing how often I hit estimated hours on an item, or number of items completed, against my co-workers. Which is kind of like determining who the better rider is by comparing the minutes it took to complete a dressage test…  yet not caring whether that test was Grand Prix or Training Level.

After a rather brutal, and uninspiring, yearly review session where the boss gave me numerous examples of how I am not stacking up to the ideal he is holding, I was questioning how much my insecurities were holding me back in life.  And it left me questing for a way to accurately compare myself against what I would consider the “ideal”. A way to determine once and for all whether I am in fact a “good” dressage rider, a good programmer, a good whatever… With the belief that once that question was settled, then I could be confident in the fact that yes, I was in fact, “Good Enough”.

And as I was pondering this heavy question, I got this comment on my facebook page: “You have great skills, but like riding….you don’t throw your heart over the fence to win… you drop the ball. I see it every show you enter. You can be great but do not want it…or have no confidence you can do it….so you never will…sadness…”


How timely…



“Throw your heart over the fence to win”.

I’m pretty sure that would look something like this:


Do you really want to be “that” person?

Anyway, a part of me is like “You’re right! I’m going to be more confident from now on out!!”

The other part of me is like “Really? Like it’s that easy.” *roll eyes*

The point is, I’ve been batting around this notion of the qualities that would settle the question on whether I am a “good” programmer or “good” dressage rider, and I don’t have clear solutions for this.

I’m not sure it really matters. Because even if I am good enough at this point in time, it’s not where I want to be.  And besides, I can’t compare myself to others to settle this debate because I’m not someone else, I’m me. Which comes with different priorities, a different view point, a different background. I’m not the greatest programmer because instead of spending my evenings coding, I’m riding or pouring over dressage videos. And I’m not the greatest dressage rider I want to be because honestly, I love programming. And when I’m not being asked to do something completely retarded, then I really enjoy spending my days writing code.

And I can’t quit my job and become a dressage-coding superstar because I’m broke.

Anyway… just mulling it over and thought I’d share. And it’s late, and I’m going to bed. 🙂

p.s. Apparently my confidence isn’t too far in the shitter if I’m laughing at a facebook comment about it.

4 thoughts on “The Over Thinker

  1. I’ve been there.
    I was a Graphic Designer working for a fairly large company with a head-in-the-sand type of boss who had no idea what it took to even get one project out on time. I continued to work there in order to support my dressage “hobby” and my horse and to continue showing and it was a long time before I realized that I couldn’t do it anymore. Something… ANYTHING… had to change.
    So, I had some money saved up and I quit my job to do the whole Freelance thing (yes, I put the “F” in “Freelance as a capital letter – it was a VERY scary decision). That was eight months ago. I’m poorer (which sucks), but I still have a house and my horse still has a place to call home (granted he’s on pasture board, but I don’t think he really minds not having a stall at night). I have never been happier. I can attend the clinics that I want, when I want, I can decide to go for a ride at 11 am on a Wednesday should I choose to do so and I have found that money can be found when it needs to be found for those that are resourceful enough.
    Is Freelancing a permanent solution for me? Probably not, but I know now that I desperately needed the break. I needed some “me” time. I needed to focus on something that was important to me – and at the time, my job wasn’t it.
    I’m not sure that you need to “throw your heart over the fence”. I think it’s important to rediscover why you took up riding in the first place. For me, it was to figure out how to be a better rider and to forget the showing aspect for a while. I finally figured out that he doesn’t care about the scores or the ribbons. If we decide to just “play” in the area when it’s too cold to ride, then he’s happy. If I want to learn something new – like trying tempi changes, he’s happy with that too. This change in outlook has made for much more relaxed rides and we actually enjoy what we’re doing now. Surprisingly, we’re actually progressing much faster then we were previously.
    I wish you the best of luck in anything that you choose to do. I’ve been reading your blog for a while and see a lot of “me” in what you write.
    …I just realized that this response looks more like a novel than a comment. Sorry about that! 🙂


  2. I’m pretty sure horse back riding is terrible for those of us with confidence issues because you are never, ever good enough- even if you’re a grand prix rider. it’s always more and more and better and better. that’s why I think it’s important to focus on improvement because otherwise you get stuck in thinking about how terrible you are compared to your ideal!

    I’m sorry about the job environment though, sounds like no fun 😦


  3. We’re all in the same life boat that you’re in, Mia. None of us is good enough … at anything. I hated that comment the first day I read it, and I hate it today. What horse shit. If it were truly as easy as throwing your heart into it, I would be the world’s best rider by now. I throw my heart into it EVERY frickin’ day. I rode my horses over 358 times in 2014; how much more can I throw at it? I have a weekly lesson, I go to clinics, I show A LOT, and I am still not riding the Grand Prix. So bullshit … it has nothing to do with how “balls to the wall” you are.

    It’s a slow and often times painful journey. I want to quit my job every single day. Work is not fun. If it were, it would be spelled F-U-N. Work is work. We work our asses off; sometimes we’re recognized for our efforts, but most of the time we’re not. Work just allows me to fund my real life, nothing more. And I have a “career” – a well paying one at that, but it doesn’t change the fact that I would much rather not BE at work.

    So please, don’t let that comment get to you. The writer was full of shit. How accomplished is she? How much heart has she tossed out there? Not much, I m sure. Do the best you can, and try to be happy with your good days. You might also consider playing the lottery more often. That’s what I let Hubby do; we’re do as far as I am concerned.

    And believe me, no matter what level you and Ava were riding, you’d still have the same doubts and insecurities. I am right there with you, sister, but I am forging ahead anyway.


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