Lessons from a horse and a Segway


WHOA Nelly! Talk about being outside of my comfort zone for the month of October.  First, I went horseback riding (and conquered a fear or two), then two weeks later took a two hour Segway tour around downtown Philadelphia. Again, a fear or two, or three were conquered. Outside of conquering a few fears – I learned a lot about balance. And that is what I want to talk about today.

In my coaching practice almost every person mentions the need for balance. Either balancing tasks for today (urgent/important) or tasks for tomorrow (significant), or family and life balance with work. We all feel this need more than ever with the opportunities before us and fast pace that everything is moving.


Here were a few lessons that being on a horse and on a Segway taught me. Funny – I would not have seen the similarity prior to doing these two activities so closely together.

Lesson #1: My balance was predicated to some degree on the balance of where I put my trust. Meaning, I had to trust the horse and trust the Segway to be balance and to try to keep balance – and then find my balance on top of that. The guide on our trail ride told us the horse will always watch where to walk and will shift its weight to maintain balance. It does not want to fall. The Segway guide told us the same thing about the Segway. It is built to maintain balance. On both of these, as I got on each, we took a minute to find our balance together. As we moved together, I had to shift my balance based on the terrain and how the horse and Segway reacted to that terrain.

In your life and business, where are you placing your trust? Is it trustworthy? Does it try to inherently maintain balance and are you balancing along with it?

Lesson #2: Balance takes work. Creating and maintaining balance are two different activities tightly woven together. To get the initial balance took one set of movements. To continue that balance as we moved forward (or backward) took constant adjustments. Going slowly was different than trotting or going at maximum speed. Moving weight, shifting stance, redirecting the reins or handles all made a difference in our direction and how to balance to stay upright and comfortable.

Are you adjusting to stay in balance or did you try to do it once and then let the moment to moment work go off of your radar? Focus is needed along with a commitment to remain in balance.

Lesson #3: Balance is hard work and you may get sore spots! Ha. I can tell you that for more than a week certain body parts hurt after doing an hour and a half trail ride. Why? Because when learning how to balance on a trotting horse, I had to learn how to do things differently than when we were just walking. There were body parts and muscles that had not been used the same way before. The same happened after the Segway ride. My toes hurt – yes my toes. Based on how you balance the toes and heels are where weight is shifted. We had an excellent time on both rides – horse and Segway – but in both, to find my balance it took different muscles to be engaged, different focus and different strategies. It was not a one size fits all in any way, shape or form.

Are you willing to be uncomfortable to create the balance you have identified and desire? Are you willing to engage new muscles and focus to carry through? If you need help with a plan or accountability to reach this goal, email Michele. She would love to help you!

Michele WilliamsComment