When I was asked to contribute to the #TeamDiO blog I was thrilled, but that quickly turned to panic because I thought, what was I going to write about? I knew I wanted it to be thought provoking; maybe trigger a little self-reflection with a hint of humor. So here goes nothing… Excuses…we all do it. Daily. We don’t want to wash dishes. We make an excuse. We don’t want to fold laundry. We make an excuse. Now, this may not see like a big deal when we’re talking about daily chores. But how do these excuse making habits cross over to our hobby? Do they hold us back? You bet. Do they give us a bad attitude? Absolutely. So, here is a short list to help you stop making excuses and be more successful competitor:
1. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else.
You are not them and they are not you. You know that saying “it’s like comparing apples and oranges”? That’s literally what you’re doing, so stop. I find myself, all too often, witnessing barrel racers comparing tack, trucks, trailers and even horses. I am here to tell you, you don’t have to have a $20k horse, $2,500 saddle or $100k trailer to be competitive. Money cannot buy work ethic, so work hard and set goals.
2. Do not live in fear. Stop playing the “what if’ game.
What if something goes wrong? What if I fail? Sure, it could happen. You could fail and it’s likely you will along the way. But, do not be afraid of failure. In the end, pay your entry fees and take your turn. Don’t sit in the stands and muddle over your regrets. Let’s turn those “what ifs” into positives. What if I win? What if I learn? Sounds better, right? Remember to get outside of your comfort zone. That is where the magic happens.
3. Do not play the blame game.
Do not blame others for your hardships. I know we’ve all done it. We’ve blamed the ground, the tractor driver, the weather and a barking dog. Blame is a never ending ride and once you’re on it, it’s awfully hard to get off. Be proactive and don’t let this habit lead to an unhealthy lifestyle. Besides, do you know what the blame game is often perceived as? Jealously…and jealously is an ugly color on you.
4. Take ownership of yourself.
Own your actions and make yourself accountable for their consequences. Say it with me, “I messed up”. Now move on. That run is over and there is nothing you can do to change the outcome. So, accept it and move on. Not being able to admit your mistakes is a great way to alienate your biggest supporters; friends and family. No one wants to hang with a Debbie Downer.
5. Never. Stop. Learning. Learn from your mistakes.
Learn to be better. Learn to grow. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Reality check, you don’t know everything! Asking for help does not make you uneducated or weak. It shows your desire to grow as a horseperson. Watch videos, go to clinics and most of all listen. Pay attention. Weed out the good from the bad. You can gain a small piece of knowledge from anyone if you’re willing to listen. Tape it to your bathroom mirror, hang it in your tack room or throw it away. But if it’s helped you in some small way, I’ve been successful.