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Deconditioning in Business— Part 1

Challenging the assumptions you have about how your business operates, what opportunities are available to you and why you make particular decisions are all a part of deconditioning.  

Since last year, I have been a part of an equine experiential leadership development company called TeachingHorse. I started as their Creative Director in July 2021 and have since redesigned their website, developed training programs and facilitated engagements with executive teams across the country.

We work to prepare leaders to navigate through uncertainty. How? By using what we can learn from horses about how they lead their herds.

Now, if someone would’ve told 13 year of me that I would be using horses to coach executives of multi-billion dollar companies I would have looked at you like you were crazy. But, here I am. Writing this email to you in my notebook on a flight back to NC from Pennsylvania.
While here, in conversation with my fellow facilitators, I brought up the term ‘deconditioning’. Truth is, many of us found horses as an escape from something else or to fulfill a need. Either a job we no longer enjoy, a trauma that we have experienced or simply to enter a relationship with zero expectations (except for snacks of course).

If you are reading this, you are likely an equine business or organization owner working to figure out how to align your passion and your ideal lifestyle. That being said, humans are creatures of habit. and because of this, we have a tendency to recreate environments that are familiar to us (consciously or subconsciously).

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Abriana J., Strategist & Coach

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A previously micromanaged work environment turn into you second guessing your every decision in your own business. Inner office drama impacts your ability to set boundaries with your clients. You simply want to do your job and work with people who value it— drama free.

It takes a bit of deconditioning to release yourself from the reality of going from where you were to where you want to be. By definition, deconditioning is the reform or reversal of previously conditioned behavior especially when the fear response to certain stimuli is under control. 

It’s not an easy task and it requires a level of self-awareness and authenticity that may leave you feeling vulnerable, but let me tell you something…


Are you going to build a business you are unhappy with because you crave comfort over challenge? Are you going to take risks and make investments because someone’s cousin n’em said their mama did something similar? Are you going to give yourself permission to have big dreams despite your ‘loved ones’ snuffing every glimmer of sparkle you work to ignite?

When horses switch jobs— racing to jumpers, show horse to leisurely riding, gymkhana to lesson pony— they have to go through a letdown period and deconditioning, challenging what they know before learning something new. 

I have found this to be critical in business and has changed the way I have approached this work. 

The next blog post in this series will continue to discuss how to explore deconditioning in order to build a business that aligns with the life you desire, but for now, I want to offer you a few things to think about.

  1. What assumptions do I have about my business/entrepreneurial journey?
  2. When did I first see evidence that validates these assumptions?
  3. What would it look like for me to challenge these assumptions?
  4. What would my life look like if these assumptions go unchallenged?
  5. Who can I talk to to help me explore these assumptions?


I go through this process every time I’m introduced to a new opportunity in my work. From coaching to curriculum development, it requires me to challenge what I already know in order to produce work that ignites the fire inside of me.

Take a moment to explore these questions and comment below or send me a DM if you feel so inclined. Don’t feel like typing? I enjoy a good voice note as well.

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