This article was originally published in the Women in Rodeo Newsletter
“A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a deadline and a plan.” – Harvey Mackay.
The new year provides us with a new opportunity to turn our dreams into goals, but before you start planning and writing deadlines on the calendar, you need to make sure that you are setting the right goals for the right reasons. Before competing for a rodeo queen title, for example, ask yourself why you want to win and if you are prepared not only to devote the time and work it takes to win the crown, but if you are willing to be fully dedicated to the title. It is easy to get caught up in the idea of winning and, if you win, of attaining the next title, but your first goal should be to be the best version of yourself that you can be. As Oscar Wilde said, “be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” Dedicate yourself not only to becoming the titleholder, but to becoming the best titleholder that you can be.
Once you have your goal set, it’s time to start planning! If your goal is to become Miss Rodeo America, plan your roadmap to wearing the Landstrom’s Black Hills Gold crown. My mom has always told me that goals are like apples – it can be overwhelming to try to eat the whole apple at once, but it’s easy to eat one slice at a time. Plan your first step toward your goal – whether it’s running for your local title or studying your equine science – and write it down. Set attainable milestones for yourself on the way to your ultimate goal and remember, if the plan doesn’t work, change the plan, not the goal.
In order to be successful, you need to be passionate about what you are doing and be good at it. So how do you become good at it? Through what my family calls the “three-legged stool:” work hard, work smart, and get along with people. Just like a three-legged stool will fall over without one of these legs, you won’t reach your potential without implementing all three. For example, if you are striving to improve your knowledge of equine science, the first step is to work hard by putting in hours studying. The second step is to work smart by studying progressively throughout the year rather than trying to cram the month before the competition and finding the best resources by not only reading the book, but listening to rural radio, watching youtube videos, reading the AQHA Journal, and attending clinics. Finally, the third step is to get along with people by befriending those knowledgeable in the field, like your vet and farrier, and asking them questions to further your studies. Implementing all three of these techniques (or “legs!”) will help you to reach your potential toward every milestone in your plan and every facet of being a titleholder.
Setting a the right goal for the right reasons, creating a plan or a “roadmap” that will get you there and using the “three-legged stool” method of working towards each milestone can apply to any dream you can dream – so in 2019, be the best YOU! Good luck!