I’m a huge Sandra Bullock fan and recently realized I’ve only watched a fraction of her movies. Over the winter I made it a goal to catch up. Ironically, 28 Days kicked off that quest.

In the comedy-drama, Bullock plays a journalist who checks into a rehab center. Participants must complete a variety of activities—including time with horses.

In one scene, Bullock struggles to pick up a horse’s hoof.

The facilitator asks, “do you need help?”

Even after Bullock falls to the ground, her answer is a resounding “no.”

The mediator responds, “your insides need to match your outsides.”

Why? Horses know when we’re bluffing. Every. Single. Time.

Our professional roles often force us to rein in what’s we’re feeling or thinking to match external expectations. When those are misaligned it interferes with our ability to communicate, connect with others, and can create stress.

It was maddening when a former boss would say to me, ‘we love that you’re so calm in every situation.’ Meanwhile, I was boiling inside. I was stressed, my health, and both professional and personal relationships suffered.

Sometimes we can see it. Other times our subconscious tricks us into believing we’re congruent.

Last fall, I fell off Leroy. It was totally my fault. I felt no anger. He told me otherwise, refusing, kicking out, and rearing while loading him on the trailer to go home.

I could feel the frustration building. My insides clearly did not match my outsides, and I couldn’t see it. I walked away, took 10 minutes and asked others for help. After reframing the “ask,” he got on the trailer like a pro.

In the closing scene of 28 Days, Bullock breaks off a relationship. As her ex begs her to stay, she spots a horse on the sidewalk, and confidently strides over. She lifts the horse’s hoof with ease and beams with confidence because what she feels is in agreement with what she is projecting.

What is keeping your insides from matching your outsides?
What is possible if they were aligned?