Who am I? As a human? As a professional? What motivates and invigorates me? What are my strengths and my weaknesses? What do I strive for? How can I continue to improve upon my skills and abilities? How do I take care of myself?

These questions are eternal, and have been asked since the dawn of humankind. We are constantly in search of meaning; to understand our purpose on this planet; where we each fit; and how we can be happier and healthier humans.

The process of self-assessment and evaluation of our interests, skills, abilities, and areas of growth is essential for human development. Without these we become stagnate and stuck in patterns and behaviors. When this happens, we stop growing.

Commonly, people are drawn to the helping professions because they want to give back, do good work, and help others. However, beneath this altruistic layer there can be an undercurrent of doing for others that which one personally needs, or wishes could have been done for themselves. We who help are often wounded ourselves — sometimes suffering from traumas or abuses of the past, or even without traumas or abuses, we tend to be extra sensitive to the needs or suffering of others. This is a gift, but one that requires a great deal of self-reflection and personal growth work to ensure we understand how to separate self from other, and how to remain grounded, centered, healthy, and ethical in our business practices.

We all come to this work with a variety of personal and professional skills and abilities. But, to do this really well, we must honestly evaluate our areas of strength and the places we need to grow — otherwise our desire to “to good” may not be backed by the very skills necessary to help those who seek our services.

I urge you to undertake a personal journey of self-exploration through these assignments. Practice the art of non-judgement. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and honest WHILE remaining kind, loving, and gentle. AND, only take yourself as far as you feel comfortable and safe. If you find yourself in need of support through this process, feel free to reach out to me or the group as a whole — or if you have a therapist or other mentor, consider engaging them while you do these assignments.

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe scope of practice law and how it affects your EAL practice.
  2. Define your profession and how equines are included in that profession, and discuss your growing edges.
  3. Evaluate your skills and design a professional and personal development plan.

Schedule

Learning Module One: ALL ABOUT SELF
Date Assignments Due
7/1-7/24 Biases and Beliefs Self-Assessment For your eyes only
7/1-7/24 Who Am I As A Provider? DUE to Leif 7/24
7/1-7/24  Personal S.W.O.T Turn into Leif if you want feedback by 7/24
7/1-7/24 Business & Professional Self-Assessments For your eyes only
7/1-7/24 Professional & Personal Development Plan DUE to Leif 7/24
7/1-7/28 Brief reflection from recommended reading and hands-on activity POSTED TO FB GROUP by 7/28
7/24-7/28 Leif reviews assignments and communicates individually with students.
7/29-8/5 Once assignments have been approved, students post their assignments for group comment and discussion during video conference call. NEED TO SET DATE/TIME FOR CALL

Assignments

Many of these assignments are for your eyes only. They are designed to stimulate thought and reflection which can be applied to many other areas of this class and to your personal and professional life.

How you move through these assignments is up to you. There are some deadlines you will need to meet, but how you accomplish each of these tasks is based upon personal preference and your own schedule.

One note about the self-assessment tools – I wrote them for The Equine-Assisted Therapy Workbook, so they are worded for healthcare professionals. BUT they are totally adaptable and applicable for EAL.

Personal S.W.O.T Analysis

Here’s a shout out to Andrew, who took the initiative to do his own S.W.O.T as a part of developing his learning goals. I thought it was SUCH a great idea I decided to embed it into the class! Thank you Andrew!

So, after watching this educational video, create your own personal S.W.O.T!

Recommended Reading

Recommended Hands-On Activity

Practice the Pause

Life can seen overwhelming and chaotic at times, especially when we rush from one thing to the next with little opportunity to ground, center, and engage in self-reflection.

Each moment between different activities or states of being is a transition point – a touchstone that can be used to slow the body and the mind, take a personal inventory, and gather the resources needed for whatever is coming next.

If we do this more frequently throughout our days, life slows down, and we realize we have the TIME and INFORMATION needed to make different decisions. So, this month, I invite you to practice the pause by developing a 5-25 minute grounding, centering, and breathing activity that you can can adapt for use in a variety of circumstances.

  • Practice the Pause in a 5 minute version before going to work, before going into a stressful meeting, before addressing your children, partner, co-workers, or before coming home and before going to bed. Allow your mind and body to soften and relax. Listen to what is coming up. Quiet your being. Become focused and still. Let go of stress. Speak with an assured kindness.
  • Practice the Pause in a 10-20 minute version prior to engaging with your horse. Check in with yourself, check in with your horse. Observe. Quiet your mind and your body. Breathe. Do this outside of your horse’s living area. Only enter when you have found a place of calm and presence.
  • Use a different variety of the Pause to reflect upon the outcome of your stressful meeting or interaction with family, friends, coworkers, or your animals, calm your nervous system, find your center. Re-evaluate the situation and how you might best respond.

Notice how doing this activity multiple times for a month changes your relationships – with self, others, and the natural world. Document this learning in your journal and feel free to share on our FB page.