I’ve had a rough few years in the rodeo world. Two years ago, all my horses got strangles from June-September, so I couldn’t take them anywhere. Last year I entered quite a few rodeos and didn’t win a single check in the breakaway. It’s been by God’s design to learn, but boy has it been frustrating!
This year, I just entered my first rodeo of the year a few weeks ago and you could tell! I missed my calf and missed my steer in the performance, I was distracted, rushed, anxious, nervous, worried, all the things. I went back to the trailer, knowing I’m better than that and I was determined to figure out the story that I was telling myself that keeps causing me to play small, to not take the first short, not to trust myself or my horse. I know I have the skill, the horsepower, work ethic and mental strength, I have put in a lot of time, I have been a winner and I can be one again. So I asked myself, what am I doing to sabotage myself? Where am I holding myself back and why?
Identifying that story I was telling myself, was the first step. I realized I was getting caught up in the distractions. I wasn’t so much worried about what people think about me personally, but I was putting pressure on myself professionally that if I wasn’t good enough in the arena, my companies would struggle.
The second step was to find a way to create a new story. I decided to ask myself right before my run, and to take the question very seriously, “How would I rope if this was the very last calf I ever got to rope?” “How would I ride my horse if this was the very last barrel race I ever got to enter?”
Since I started doing that, my whole focus has changed. It’s allowed me to back in the box and stay laser focused in the moment. It’s allowed me to be aggressive and not let distractions or people or my horse acting up in the box get in the way.
Do I still have work to do, OF COURSE!! I still need a lot of practice, patience and faith to get where I’m going. I’m still going to have less than favorable days, but I’m going to go into those days knowing I showed up to work through them. I showed up to learn from those days. I showed up to be better.
I’ve started applying that to other parts of my life. I’ve started applying that to my workouts. If I got in a car accident tomorrow and didn’t have arms anymore, would I do one more pushup? Would I run that extra mile? Would I do one more box jump? Sometimes the answer is no. I wouldn’t push myself so hard that it’s unhealthy, but 99% of the time, the answer is yes, I’d dig deeper.
You never known when life’s going to get cut short. Exchange bitterness with a smile. Negative thoughts with positive. Grudges with conversations. Pain with forgiveness. Judgement with curiosity, understanding and an open mind. Harshness with kindness and a helping hand.
So ask yourself, what’s your story? What’s on the other side of that story? How would you live your life if today was the last day you got to go into the office, the gym, into your house, enter through the gate of the arena, back in the box, get down in the chute? What would it be like?