Riding is a difficult sport, much like living. One day you’re on the top of the world, the next day you’re in the dirt, often in riding that is a literal place. As an amateur, balancing your personal life, work life, and riding life is difficult at best. As said in the movie, The Devil Wears Prada, “That’s what happens when you start doing well at work. Let me know when your entire life goes up in smoke, means it’s time for a promotion.” Well, try throwing in a successful eventing career along with a successful professional career. Take that fashionistas! I have yet to master any of the three, so maybe I should save the snarky remarks for later.

A brilliant woman, one who I was lucky to train with, told me to be selfish and that almost all elements in life come down to you being a little bit selfish in order to be happy. Now, that doesn’t mean not caring for your loved ones, clients, or coworkers. Nor does it mean being inconsiderate of others. What it does mean is knowing how to put yourself first, how to be brave, and how to be authentic. Be selfish. Be brilliant. Be brave. Live a life that not only are you proud of, but one that you love and is filled with people who build you up. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Don’t keep those that bring you down in your life, they’re not worth it.

I’m 25, to say that my life is all figured out would be far from true. Many of my friends are getting married, having children, and moving away to exciting places to start the next phase of their blossoming career. If I had told myself seven years ago where I am now…well…let’s just say there would be some disappointment.

My most successful moments have come from when I was selfish. When I moved across the country to become a working student, I found myself. I left a meek, immature (well, more immature), worried girl behind and learned how to become a person who could move into a town full of strangers and build a life. I left my family, my friends, my job, and my education behind to pursue my passion. I was fulfilled, experienced life, and learned many hard but necessary lessons. I also was selfish when I knew it was time to leave that life behind to finish my degree. Since then, there have been many other times when I knew it was time to be selfish and make necessary changes to continue my path to success and happiness.

If someone doesn’t build me up, make me better, and believe in me, I do not stay around trying to glue back the broken pieces. I am selfish in the sense that I expect the best from myself, support from those around me, and I demand love, respect, and kindness from every individual who wishes to be a part of my life. This “selfishness” has helped me be a better friend, equestrian, and has helped my career thrive.