This week we have a guest contributor post by Jenna Knudsen, creator & coach at The S.M.A.R.T. Equestrian . Jenna has designed a daily planner exclusively for equestrians and is here to tell us a little more about the planner and herself.
Can I please get three cheers for all of us Equestrian Moms! Seriously, a woot, woot is deserved and if no one has told you lately, let me say, “You are amazing!”
Moms come in two types. Married moms and single moms. I went from married Mom to single Mom when my daughter Katie, was 4, and my son, Liam, was 2. It was my decision and one of the toughest choices of my life. The timing was not great, probably never is. We were living on our dream horse farm in Upstate, NY right alongside our four horses and pony. It was built as they say with blood, sweat, and tears (and lots of money sunk into it.)
The divorce dismantled everything overnight. My lifelong dream of raising my family on my dream farm vanished. To make matters even worse I had to sell 4 of our horses, a total heartbreaker.
The tearful years that followed were dark and challenging- emotionally and financially. My usual confidence was nowhere to be found. When I smiled at my kids to make them feel safe, inside of me lived a constant fear. I went from being on top of the world (literally the top of the mountain) to rock bottom.
Through my entire life I was always safe, secure, and OK. Now I was not. I was literally down to how am I going to survive today and take care of my kids? Something I had never ever faced before. I had dreams of an amazing life. Now I was deep in my worst nightmare. I was forced to move 5 times in four years. I tried to make it an adventure for my kids. Time to pack again. Each place grew smaller and smaller as the world closed in on me. Of course, our equestrian lifestyle came to a screeching halt.
If you are reading this and have gone through financial hardship, divorce, depression or any type of major plot twist in your life- you know what I’m talking about. When you are tumbling down you never know truly where the bottom is. You think you are there and then things get even worse.
No matter what was taken from me, there was always something I held onto and would never let it go. My dreams and my desires to get my life back. My equestrian life. When you have something special it feels great. And yes, sometimes when it comes easy it can be taken for granted. But when what you love is literally taken from you, it hurts that much deeper. Especially when you feel helpless and the world seems to be conspiring against you.
So eventually, I gathered my strength. Slowly. I knew deep down that if you want something badly enough there is a way to make it happen. I threw myself into personal growth and self-help books. I read. I consumed. I absorbed. I surrounded myself only with positivity. I kicked the negative thoughts out the door.
I started journaling. More specifically, I started “planning” my days. Planning gave me a sense of control, a feeling I was “creating” my days. I was no longer waiting for things to “happen” to me. I was going to make sh** happen.
At first, planning was difficult. Then it became easier. There was something magical happening. I could feel it. Instead of my insides turning upside down, I was starting to vibrate. Planning my day brought me joy. Joy began to displace the fear.
Inside my daily planner and journal, I focused on me. What was important to me? How was I taking care of myself and my kids? How did I want to spend my hours? How did I want to feel during the day? What gave me a feeling of living with passion and purpose?
Day by day, I wrote. I began to finally create a new vision for my life. Baby steps. Choosing carefully what was best for me and my peeps. Prioritizing. Taking self-care to heart. I realized you cannot take care of others if you do not take care of yourself first.
I asked better questions of myself. Most important was paying attention to the silent answers from deep in my soul.
By writing things down, clarity appeared. By planning my day, positive habits emerged. By creating a vision, a brighter future inspired me. By staying present and following my “plan”, I stayed calm, centred and focused.
By planning, I could see progress. By celebrating each success, I stayed motivated to keep elevating my life.
My life changed. I started to inspire others. Leadership positions came to me. I continued to study, learn, and understand the secrets of how to change a life.
When the darkness clears and the light appears it is so interesting what can be seen. My positive vibrations were inspiring other women. I had women asking me to help them change their life. At first, I was a cheerleader. Then I chose to truly make a difference for others. I became a coach.
As all new ventures go, my coaching business started small. I coached only with women. I was totally devoted and began initially by helping women achieve their health goals. I LOVED it! I was hooked! I was born to coach people to success! One woman led to another and within a year, I had a full coaching business. I coached for years and loved every minute and shared the joy of each woman overcoming any and all obstacles leading to their personal success.
Five years ago, my then 14-year old daughter, Katie said to me, “Mommy, why don’t you just coach equestrians? That’s your world. Wouldn’t that be fun?!” Don’t you love how kids think? Everything is possible. Just do what makes you happy.
I took my sage daughter’s advice. I shifted my focus to become a “Life Coach for Equestrians.” I expanded health coaching into all the important areas of life. I have never been happier. Each day I feel like I am in HEAVEN!
My intuitive nature allows me to connect deeply and quickly with the women I work with. Coaching relationships fuel my soul and give my life purpose. Helping equestrians plan, create and live lives they love has become my 100% full-time mission in life.
As a Life Coach, you work one on one. This is great for the individuals you are honoured to work with. I just knew and felt that all equestrians could benefit from the same support system and be able to improve and change their lives. How could I shift from helping the few to helping hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands?
I thought back to my life. An A-ha moment happened…planning. I had planned and taken my life from an epic disaster to living a life I loved!
A planner- a LIFE planner! That was the tool needed! I created a unique planner designed specifically for equestrians. All of the success tools are built right into this planner and five years ago, my baby, The S.M.A.R.T. Equestrian Planner was born!
The first two years the planner was mostly for my coaching clients. However, something special was happening. Lives changed faster. Women who were not my clients were asking for the planner. It started to take on a life of its own.
The following year, SmartPak said they LOVED the planner and they wanted it too!
Year three is when something truly amazing happened. It was the launch of the “The S.M.A.R.T. Equestrian Planner Group” on Facebook- our own private online, equestrian community. A community of women. A community of support, inspiration and daily coaching.
We became “Smarties’ as we are now known and it has TAKEN OFF! The success stories started rolling in almost immediately. Friendships formed. Souls were healed. People bonded, engaged and became a family. Goals were crushed! Only kindness and support are allowed- no drama or judgement in our cyber barn.
Watching everyone overcome obstacles, achieve their goals and live their dreams makes for a dynamic and inspirational community. Equestrians empowering Equestrians! This is not a slogan- it’s who we are and what we truly do.
This past summer the S.M.A.R.T. Equestrian launched “The Leg-Up Coaching Club”- this is an affordable, private group coaching club of equestrian women who want the next level of accountability and coaching.
I have seen Equestrians take their lives from hard times and dark places to optimal health, abundance and lots more fun time in the saddle. Our Smarties community is worldwide and includes all disciplines of riding. It’s such an honour to coach with thousands of equestrians and unite all of us under one amazing umbrella of Equestrians Empowering Equestrian at the Smart Equestrian.
What all of us have learned through 5 years of planning, connecting and sharing life, is that TOGETHER we are limitless. I’m happy and proud to be a Mama Equestrian together with all of you!
I look forward to connecting more and helping you plan, create and live a life you love!
You can keep up to date with all the information from Jenna and the S.M.A.R.T planner on Facebook and Instagram.