Here is what I have learned about people who have success, especially with horses or in rodeo later in life. It’s all about “who you know.” And in my opinion, you need to know two different types of people – your peers and your coaches.
I spent three hours on the phone on Friday. First, I interviewed Alex Cord for the Earn Your Spurs Podcast, then I spoke to two different people both promoting brands within similar niches to Earn Your Spurs. Now, generally I’m not a huge fan of talking on the phone, mainly because it pulls me away from all sorts of other issues that I should be dealing with. But whenever I get off the phone with like-minded and inspiring individuals – much like my guests on the Earn Your Spurs Podcast, I am fired up!
Just when I think nobody really understands why I am so passionate about helping people buy a cowboy hat or pick up a set of bridle reins for the first time -BAM! – somebody does.
What I am reminded of each time this happens is that although it sometimes feels that way, I am not alone on my journey.
Even though I might be the only one sitting in my freezing cold basement churning out blog posts and podcast episodes, I have friends and supporters not only around the country but around the world.
And the truth is, you do too. You just don’t know them yet.
It may sometimes feel like nobody you know understands why on earth you would want to ride a horse or a bull or pick up a rope. Maybe your friends and even your family would much rather spend their week of vacation in Napa or on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean. And they think you must be half delusional for dreaming about the snow-capped peaks of Montana or Wyoming and spending your vacation shooting photos of deer, cattle and mountain streams between a horse’s ears.
But I can promise you, even if nobody in your immediate group of friends “gets it,” I do. And I can guarantee, there are thousands of people across the country and across the world who feel the exact same way you do. Some people are just born with an innate desire to live a lifestyle rich with cowboy influence. Some of those people are born on ranches and some aren’t. Some develop the desire later in life when the hustle and bustle of the rat race has taken it’s toll and the pull of something authentic and pure becomes overwhelmingly strong.
Developing those relationships with others who share your interests and aspirations can go a long way to helping you feel understood and validated. And the great news is, with the power of the internet, those people are easy to find. Social media and forums can be great platforms for connecting with new like-minded friends. And of course there is always the Earn Your Spurs Facebook Group. Connecting people who share these crazy desires is what it was created for.
Mentors and Coaches
You’ve heard of James Pickens Jr., right? Just in case you haven’t, this is him.
James Pickens Jr. doesn’t consider himself to be a cowboy, but he is someone who loves the western lifestyle and team roping. And he didn’t teach himself to do it by watching videos online and going out and buying a horse all by himself. He had cowboy “mentors” to show him the way.
Just like in business and in sports, when it comes to being successful with horses or rodeo or whatever your western passion is, finding the right mentors and coaches is crucial.
Have you ever gone somewhere where you really didn’t fit in? And the fact that you just knew you stuck out like a sore thumb made you that much more uncomfortable? I know I have.
The whole western scene can feel a lot like that to a newcomer, no matter how much they want to fit in. Do you know what makes the situation far more comfortable? Having a buddy on the “inside” to show you the ropes.
For me, I had it pretty easy. It was my dad. For my dad, it was the employers he worked for on ranches and the friends he met along the way that helped him with horses to ride and gave him roping pointers. For JJ Harrison, it was his high school buddies. For Jennifer Nicholson, It was Riata Ranch International.
I would venture to guess that nearly anyone who has followed their dreams and earned their spurs in some way has done it with the help of someone else.
So, if you have a passion to pursue that is at all related to living a western lifestyle, the most beneficial thing you can do for yourself is to find a mentor. It can be a friend, a trainer, a coach, a family member..really anyone as long as they know more about what you want to do than you do. Just beware, some people only think they know more than you do. Which is why it’s a good idea to pay a professional when you’re first starting out if you are unsure.
Earn Your Spurs is currently developing a resource which will make it easier for you to find such an individual. In the meantime, reach out to people online who you admire, visit your local roughstock schools or riding stables, and begin cultivating those relationships. If you are driven to succeed, you will find that people will want to help you succeed, just as long as you can find the right people.
And of course, you are always free to reach out to me. I am glad to help you however I can.
Remember this famous quote by Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If none of those people include ropers or bull riders or mounted shooters or cattle ranchers or whatever it is that you aspire to do, how can you ever expect to become one of them?