Conducting Yourself in a Professional Manner

I originally started this article to discuss the AQHA requiring exhibitors to wear back numbers even while schooling horses at the World Show. See Go Horse Show Articles for more on what I’m talking about.  

Schooling Numbers Not Required But Encouraged at AQHA World Shows

AQHA Explains Why Numbers Must Be Worn at World Shows

While I feel that this is a step in the right direction for the welfare of the horses, I felt compelled to discuss the importance of conducting yourself in professional manner (an issue that I feel ties to the need to wear back numbers).

Millennials, like myself are often regarded as being entitled, lazy and all together the opposite of professional. So how do we change that image? We have to rise to the occasion and prove that we are more than the labels.

When I was running for Miss Wilderness Circuit (a few years back), in my personal interview they asked if the queen committee should be allowed to monitor or control the winning queen’s Facebook page. My response was along the lines of as a queen it’s our job to conduct ourselves in a professional manner. Being a queen is our “job” and we should treat it as such. The committees’ job is not to babysit us and make sure that we are acting like a proper representation of the circuit.  

As a competitor, I felt slightly insulted that they even had to ask that question. What happened to the days when a person’s word meant something and you could trust an individual to follow through with their commitments. We have become a society of coddled individuals who expect everything and do nothing. Respect is earned and professionalism is the key.

So how can you maintain a professional appearance and attitude in and out of the arena?

Realize there are eyes everywhere. From the moment you leave the comfort of your own home there are fans, kids, haters and otherwise watching your every move. All it takes is one temper tantrum in the heat of the moment to leave a bad taste in people’s mouth. Youth athletes are watching you too. Are you setting a positive example? Would you want them to act the same way that you are?

Social Media is a blessing and curse. Social media is a great outlet to get out your accomplishments, connect with friends and sponsors, and see what other athletes are doing. On the flip side Social Media has raised the level of awareness of events. It’s very easy for old party photos, temper tantrums and other bad behavior to be displayed to hundreds if not thousands of people. Bad media even for a local rodeo athlete spells trouble when it comes time to gather sponsorships. A good rule of rule of thumb when it comes to social media posts and pictures is “Would your grandma approve?” if not you should keep it to yourself.

You are a brand. Are you selling what others want to buy? Are you reliable? Are you trustworthy? Can you be trusted to have self-control under pressure and exercise patience when things don’t go your way? That’s what a professional does.

Image is everything. Perception is often reality. Aside from acting accordingly, are you presenting yourself and your horse  as a winning  team? Clean, starched and well fitted clothing step your image up. A well groomed and fed horse says you care for more than just yourself. If you want to be a winner you need to present yourself as a winner. Look the part.

Be humble. Be grateful. A simple thank you goes a long way. Whether it’s a ring steward, a secretary or a judge it takes an army to produce a successful event. It’s not all about you and your success. Take the time to acknowledge others efforts and when you win be humble. Don’t boast. Don’t brag. Animals will keep you humble, the winner one week can just as easily be a loser the next. Don’t get too high on the high and too low on the lows.

There is no place for gossip or bad mouthing. Don’t do it. Have respect for fellow competitors and respect for yourself.

Take your commitments seriously. Be on time. Follow through. Punctuality, reliability, respect for others, humble, positivity (are you a nay sayer?)

Be positive and have fun.

If you have more to say on professionalism or have a blog idea, find me on social media!

- Paige Morgan
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