Thursday, October 15, 2009

Discovering My "Horsenality"

In Parelli Natural Horsemanship, we are encouraged to get to know ourselves and to increase our "emotional fitness," so that we can become the best leaders for our horses.

In PNH lingo, I was born a Left-brain Introvert, and I have been rated as an INTJ on the Meyers-Briggs personality inventory. Through a series of life crisis starting as a teen, I started to act more like an Right-brain Extrovert, due to constant excessive adrenaline.

My state-of-being affects my relationships - both horse & human. I tend to get along best with human LBEs because they match my energy, but are calm, and have a plan. Even if they are sometimes a bit blunt or direct-line, it doesn't rub me the wrong way, like it does some other people. (The photo above is of LBE Michelle a.k.a. "arabhorselover1", "Parlay" a RBE mare that I used to own, and me. Notice that the LBE is holding the RBE's rope!)

I also get along well, but am less productive/progressive, with LBIs. They can bring out my "let's skip math and eat brownies instead" frame of mind, which although very relaxing, often gets me in trouble..

My sometimes frenetic energy tends to overwhelm and/or annoy RBI people. However, other RBEs tend to get on my nerves!

With horses, I prefer LB to RB, but do pretty well with both LBI & RBI. LBE's think very quickly and I sometimes have a difficult time leading them. I do the worst with RBE horses - they bring up my fear. Lots of "I'm not OK - you're not OK either" self talk by both parties.

I've learned that I do best with lots of feedback, structure, and opportunity to be part of a team. I don't enjoy being a leader, but relish being "first indian." I enjoy the safety of the herd, and want to fit in and be accepted.

I recently started new job providing technical support via phone. My training class is full of LBEs, with a couple of LBIs. I may be the only RBE in a group of 18. I'm having issues with confidence and performance anxiety (huge adrenaline rush causing me to go blank, freeze, stop breathing, and to want to RUN). Last week, a doctor proscribed beta blockers for me, which help a great deal with moderating the effects of adrenaline.

However, even with the medications, I can still go into information overload. Like my horse, Smokey, if I can't run, than I BALK (shut down). My record button turns OFF, and so I'm having short term memory issues. Funny thing, if I have small accidental successes then I start thinking again. Also, I hate not knowing what I'm doing, especially with folks watching. Fortunately, this is not as big of a problem by phone, where I can fake it, as it is in person.

My pattern is to preemptively quit in order to stop the uncomfortable feelings. All of my life this has halted my progress in lots of areas. I keep telling myself that I'm not going to react that way this time and that they will have to fire me to get rid of me (which I sometimes think that I'm looking forward to).

The weird thing is that even in the midst of a panic, I can still be detached enough to observe my "inner horse" freak out and to think, "how interesting." Also, I've noticed that I tend to complain when I feel unconfident, but I'm much more forgiving of situations at other times. I also tend to look for others that feel the same way as I do, so that I can match how they are coping. ("Should we all RUN away together?")

As an RBE, there are things that I've discovered to be helpful: a "you can do it" message of reassurance from a confident leader, not too much pressure, more carrot and less stick, small opportunities for success, take it slow - time to "lick & chew" over things. If I was having a full blown panic, a firm message of "STOP, breathe, you are OK" would help. (I try to keep myself from going there!)

I'm trying to use the strategies in the book Move Closer, Stay Longer so that I can learn to persist through the bad places long enough to reach the fun on other side (just as I did in this summer's "Joseph" musical production). I need to stick with it until there is a change in my response/mental state.

My goal is to learn to function as a moderate LBE, with more controlled and focused energy, and to teach my "butterflies to fly in formation"!

I think that Guinness and I are a good match. He seems to be a motivated LBI. He actively seeks out new things to play with, but also displays a lot of "you can't make me" with the other horses. He is not domineering and seems to be happy as a subordinate in the herd, as long as there is lots of play. He is also pretty darned unflappable and sensible, which helps to keep me from going RBE. We compliment each other pretty well. The big test will be whether we could survive performing at a Celebration event together someday!

Lots to ponder..


ForeverFan said...

Hi! Thank you for this post- I'm naturally an RBI, but I'm always looking for more information on RBEs (especially humans) and how they respond to situations and what helps them- so I found your post quite informative! :) Thanks for sharing! :)

~Krys (the one who writes the Right Brain Introvert blog)

Anonymous said...

what an interesting post! makes me want to do it on my blog, lol. I'm an LBE / ENFP, although i love solitude and would rather stay home and read than go to a party ... until i actually get there at which point i can't believe i don't get out more. LOL

can you have IM up, at your new job? i work in technology as well and use IM extensively with clients/colleagues -- you can ping me anytime your panic reflex kicks in, and i will match your energy and add four ounces or give a thanks i needed that or whatever ... helping end users with technology is not exactly the most peaceful, calm, simple activity in the world. (i know - i write documentation, and boy do i hear about it if something isn't clear...i usually blame it on another writer and then save the day by fixing it *evil grin*)

Naturally Gaited said...

We'd probably get along great! You should analyze your horsenality on your blog too! Unfortunately, I'm working at an inbound call center and they block all unauthorized programs (and don't even want us to have pagers or cellphones on the floor). I wonder what arabhorselover1's Meyers Briggs type it? I know that she has told me but I've forgotten (like everything else). I just got some bloodwork back that indicated that I'm low on Vitamin D. I wonder if getting outside more would help my brain? ;-)