Back To School
Where did the summer go? Our summer run never seems to slow down enough for a breath. Work all day, rodeo every weekend, practice pen in between. Now somehow school is starting back up, bringing even more to balance! From making it to classes on time, to homework and studying for tests, we are always busy with something. It has been this way throughout our whole lives. There's the youngsters who are just starting out, juggling the demands of friendship, new environments and holding onto those big cowboy goals. Junior High and High School students are beginning the loooong break between the fall and spring rodeos and have to maintain their motivation in the practice pen. Then there are the college rodeo athletes whose practice schedule may be peaking, but they have to find a way to manage their classroom demands at the same time. So as school begins, we wanted to take some time to talk about things that will help us stay successful both in the rodeo arena and in the classroom.
What are you working for?
We all have dreams and desires in our heart. But until we write them down and analyze them all they will be are ideas. I know you may be thinking “I don't have time for that!” But goal settinggives you a sense of direction and purpose. This will help you to get maximum use of your time so that you are always making choices that help your progress. So although goal setting might take a minute to do, it will save you many wasted minutes in the future.
Missouri Valley College Rodeo Coach, Ken Mason, finds goal setting very important for his athletes. Each of them fills out packets at the beginning of every season that I have included for your use. He looks them over and encourages the cowboys and cowgirls to put them in their bathroom mirror where they can be seen and reminded of them every day. This was vital in my rodeo career. As a cowgirl working every woman's event, if I did not set short term and long term goals I would get lost in the hustle of everything I had to do and lose the quality in my practices, schoolwork, and even my relationships with people.
Once we have our long term goals set, we can make daily plans that will get us closer to these goals. I make lists every night before bed with everything I need to accomplish the next day. College rodeo athlete, Kate Grover, makes these lists in the morning to gauge her energy level and plan then what she is willing to tackle. You have to find what works for you, but the most important thing is to have a plan. 24 hours can get wasted up really quickly if we don't have a sense of direction through it. A lot of the time if we don't have a plan we will waste more energy trying to think of what we might need to do instead of having productive thoughts and a much more fluid day.
Obviously as rodeo athletes, working with animals and crazy schedules we know that these daily plans have to be flexible. There are a lot of things that we may have to adapt to throughout any given day. But having a general idea of what you need to do will help make each day more productive and help you juggle more throughout it. Also, crossing those accomplishments off at the end of the day from your list is one of the best feelings in the world.
Who’s going to get you there?
Having all these goals and plans are great, but if you don't hold yourself accountable for achieving them then it will be pretty hard to get there. Hanging around with people who may not be as motivated, or have more interest in the social side of things may distract you from your goals. Having a friend or mentorwith similar goals in mind is a huge asset in rodeo. Just by sharing your goals with someone will create a sense of realness to them. Someone knows what you are working for so you feel like you need to pull out all the stops to make it happen. They can drive you to get through your lists and get closer to your goals.
Now, one thing that we often forget is that mentors come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve had 10 year old kids whose personalities inside and out of the arena have humbled and inspired me. Being open to these kinds of inspirations will keep you progressing even once you feel like you are on top. If you only take help and motivation from people you see as better, where will you go once you’ve won the world? Even then we can continue to grow and be inspired. There is always more and always something we can do better. Remain humble enough to know this.
Enjoy the Journey..
All this structure and planning seems like no fun, I know. But it is actually going to leave you with more time to be able stop stressing and enjoy. Which is the most important thing. Don't limit your good influences to just your mentors. It's important to choose friends who are encouraging and supportive, but a good time too. They are going to be your foundation through everything. School flies by at any level so make sure you take time to enjoy yourself. The grind involved in rodeo can be a lot, but using these forms of structure in your goals will help you to enjoy even the toughest parts. Set goals, make plans, have support, and crush those goals! Let's make this school year the best one yet. Good luck from Kimes Ranch Jeans!