Think beyond the jump

Think beyond the jump

Advice from an equine trainer helps me envision positive outcomes and gives me confidence in difficult moments.
Mar 13, 2018

In college I rode on the equestrian team. Our trainer used to tell us to “think beyond the jump.” This is so important because horses can intuit whether you’re timid. The analogy works in life too. When I need to face something difficult, I tell myself to think beyond the jump. I envision a positive outcome, and that gives me more confidence in the moment.

Getting close with a feline friend while meeting with a client. | All photos courtesy of Heather Lewis.

Up dog for perspective

I now know that whole work/life balance thing is a myth. But the best career tip I’m still learning is to take care of myself so I can take care of my business and my family. I work on life projects on the weekend and I’ve worked 20 minutes of yoga into my weekday morning routine, which makes me feel more relaxed and ready for the day.

Meeting a resident while on site.

Down dog for relaxation

I’m inspired by people who show me how to make a better difference in my life and work. I love learning about business and leadership as well as animal welfare and care. Because I don’t turn off my brain much, I do need time to truly recharge. I need at least a week at the ocean or mountains with my family a couple of times a year to get into a more creative mindset and let the hassles of everyday life fall away. My husband of 22 years and I are building a cabin in the mountains so we can get away more often.

At the cabin location.

Craving culinary creativity

I’m excited to learn to cook better. I’ve been working at it, but when my children were little, like many families, we resorted to emergency meals. Now I can get back to making nice meals. My favorite meal is breakfast. I make a mean breakfast quiche and made-from-scratch fluffy waffles with warmed maple syrup.

The Lewis family.

Harness Pomodoro power

My efficiency tip: Use the Pomodoro Technique. Train yourself to focus on only one task for a brief, concentrated, distraction-free, defined moment of time, then take a short break before starting the next task. Cranking out one task at a time is the most efficient way for me to check things off the list.

Heather Lewis, AIA, NCARB, is a regular speaker at the HospitalDesign360 conference as well as partner at Animal Arts, an architecture firm in Boulder, Colorado. She's a lighting geek and a (seriously) devoted advocate of minimizing pets' stress and anxiety during their veterinary visits. She has designed practices and shelters that range in size from 1,200 square feet to 110,000 square feet. During grad school (as a break from “architorture”) she trained miniature horses to pull carts.