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F.O.C.U.S. Time: When life gives you a kick

Diana Jaworski
Sentinel columnist
Posted 1/15/23

“Don’t do it! It’s not a good idea!” There goes that little voice inside my head again, telling me to stop and think before acting.

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F.O.C.U.S. Time: When life gives you a kick


“Don’t do it! It’s not a good idea!” There goes that little voice inside my head again, telling me to stop and think before acting. Unfortunately, words became twisted, and what I truly heard was, “Yes! This is a great idea!” The confusion in my mind led to a memorable family vacation.

The final decision was made to go horseback riding. As I reviewed all my strengths and skills, horseback riding was not on that list. The thought of mounting a large, temperamental beast with lightning speed was not my idea of adventure. Despite never having ridden one, my mind again suggested, “Just do it!”

I was suffering from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)! The fear of being left behind on this adventure overtook the voice in my head.

I was still very confused about what it really meant. I asked the horse handler, who was working alone that day, attending to my six other family members, to please give me the smallest horse she had. How about a little donkey, pony, or miniature horse?

Much to my chagrin, none were available. While trying to mount the horse, in the distance, a group of young, disrespectful teens revved up their four-wheelers, only to startle the horses.

Me, being the only person who was not yet saddled up, ended up in the middle of terrified horses controlled by one overwhelmed handler.

Trying to remove myself from what I thought would be a stampede, my head hit the back end of one of the horses, and all I remember is flying over everyone and landing on my back. It knocked the wind out of me.

You can rest assured that I survived this ordeal since I am here to share my experience. But I did not come out of this unscathed.

My fear, excuse me, respect for horses grew much after that “adventure.” I do believe many are able to relate to moments like these.

A horse may not literally kick us, but there are those unexpected situations in life that will bring pain, tears, and a limp to your step. They are neither fun nor adventurous.

And although they are unwelcome, they happen.

Through my real life kicked-by-a-horse experience, I have learned to look at life’s kicks in a separate way.

When life gives you a kick:

K – Know that you are not alone. While at the emergency room and hearing of my ordeal, multiple islanders proceeded to tell me of their own horse-kicking stories. Many stories were entertaining, while others were more difficult to hear. In their own way, they meant to comfort me.

No one is excluded from life’s kicks, but some just hurt more than others. Remember, you are not alone.

I – Invest in life saving tools. I would have worn real body armor had I known of the forthcoming event. The kicks may come at us suddenly and unexpectedly.

Until then, I have learned to invest time in developing the coping skills and positive mindset that fortify my mental armor and prepare me for the inevitable. This may not ease the pain, but it will help one to persevere.

C – Calm yourself and breathe. When my body hit the ground, I was completely winded. Having a difficult time gasping for breath, it was not until the handler came over and kept telling me to breathe in a calming voice that I relaxed and caught my breath.

K – Keep going. Get back up. Never quit. I am referring to one’s mental and emotional state. It is the mental and emotional parts of an experience that define us. How does one react to setbacks? How does a person return to his or her feet after a “kick”?

While the rest of the family enjoyed the remainder of the vacation, I spent the time lying down, unable to move because of the pain.

According to the islanders’ stories, I was extremely fortunate that this situation did not have the worst possible outcome. I picked up the learned lessons, as well as myself.

Even though I have not attempted to ride a horse again, I enjoy their beauty, strength, and power from a comfortable distance. If given that opportunity, I am sure I will “get back on that horse.”

Life certainly is a melody of ups and downs, but it is how we handle each “kick” that defines our character, helps us to persevere, and teaches us to live one day at a time. Who knows?

A good “kick” may be necessary to wake us up.

“You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” – Sean, Goodwill Hunting

Diana Jaworski, F.O.C.U.S. Coaching Services, is a certified coach, teacher, trainer, and speaker with Maxwell Leadership Certified Team. Learn more about personal growth by visiting her website at


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