Sports are partially played between your ears. Have you heard that one before?
When we participate in solo sports, it is a lot of 1-1 time with ourselves and we need to unlock our mind game to the full potential in order to perform our best. Easier said than done.
But, throughout this journey of riding and learning, I have gathered some life lessons from this sport!
Listen to hear what Barrel Racing has taught me away from the arena, how I show up in life has been altered because of barrel racing.
My perspectives have changed from barrel racing and I am going to show with you some of the things I learnt throughout my many years of competition.
What has barrel racing taught me in life? Because we all know when you do a sport, especially a solo sport, the game is played between our ears and the lessons we learned through the spore will transfer over to our day to day lives.
The first one I’m going to start with here is what it has taught me is it’s okay to not be the best and it’s okay to start and to learn.
It’s okay to show up as a beginner and to embrace being a beginner. And I’ve seen that in her that from people where they’re scared, they don’t want to start because they know they’re not that good. Or, you know, of course you’re not going to be good. You’re just starting and embrace it. Don’t be worried about people judging you because yeah, you don’t have the experience and that’s okay.
That’s literally how you get the experience anyways is just by doing it, you know it’s gonna come eventually. And I think when you start, that’s all it takes is don’t think of starting later, don’t be worried about. Barrel racing taught me that. And other aspects of my life, like taking a job, doing the internship, which I mean was about barrel racing, but still, it has to do with being okay with starting. Being okay, to put yourself in a position that you might be uncomfortable in and taking that leap to try to improve yourself or just to try to live out your dreams.
And when you feel empowered enough to do that, then you might feel better about doing other things in your life. Like maybe the other job or moving or starting school or anything it’s going to help you. So for me, learning how it’s okay to not be the best right away, it’s okay to be learning. It’s okay to take those proper steps, those horrible growing pains that we’re all familiar with. It’s a part of it. It’s a part of the process in barrel racing and with everything else, you’re not going to learn everything in one day. It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to take time. You’re going to have to take those steps to become the person you actually want to become and barrel racing a hundred percent. I support it fully that that has come from barrel racing because yeah, you start from somewhere, you’re on a horse that you don’t, you’re not familiar with.
It’s kind of scary when you don’t actually know how to handle a horse and you start that way. You know, like you start by being unsure, doubting, not knowing. And that’s how you learn how to be confident is by doing it and taking those proper steps to get there. And that’s really, really, what I love about barrel racing is you have to take it like that because there’s no other way. So for my own experience, I mean, I came from, I was the first barrel racer in my family. My mom had horses as trail horses. I got the pony, I got the other horse. I trained myself and that’s where I’ve come from. So I understand what it is and what it means to be a little confused. You want to do something, but you don’t know how. And that is the first step is realizing.
I don’t know how, but I want, I want to do it. I want to make this happen. Let’s pursue it and make those mistakes to, to grow really. So with that, as well as when I think about life and barrel racing, I think about two things, the good and the bad. And when I’ve been barrel racing, you know, you, if you ride horses, you know, you need to take the good with the bad. And that has went into my day to day life. It’s just being aware of that. And knowing this is a really good thing than, Oh, shoot, this day sucks. But you know, you have to be optimistic and move forward because when you barrel race, your horses, counting on that, and you also paid your entry. You want to do good. You need to know how to handle that. Go with the bad and to keep progressing forward, even though you really might not want to.
And I’ve seen it time and time again, where people are in a rut, they’re struggling. They’re about to give up, they’re going to scratch. Cause they don’t want to, they haven’t made a clean run or their horses at turning a barrel at all, all the reasons why you might want to give up and go home that weekend. But if you learn that there’s bad and there’s good, you need to keep trying. And I’ve seen that literally happen. Pretty recent actually, where someone can keep a clean run, wanted to, she, everyone told her not to like, no, we all have faith in you. You can do this, you got it. And you know what? She frickin won a race like how crazy and cool is that. And so it just takes that dedication to know when I have a blow, there’s going to be a high somewhere else.
And having that optimistic perspective has definitely helped me and helped keep me more enlightened for knowing those good times and realizing what the pad times are for the bad times. You know, they’re there to teach you something. They’re there to show you what the good times really feel like. And you need to have those bad times. So when you have a bad time, understand it’s worth, it needs to happen. You need those bad times to know what your good time will feel like in life barrel racing. It’s the exact same highs and lows are there. So you can find that nice balance in life and be happy with it. Now we all know and understand in life as well as you might be having these really good times, then bad things happen. You wonder, why me? Why is this happening? Why can’t I get it figured out?
And you really realize, and it happens to me in barrel racing. And then I realized how relatable it is for everyone in their day to day lives is how incredibly out of control we really are, how we really don’t have a ton of control. And I remember reading something and even myself, I’m like, I need to feel out of control when I ride my horse. Because when you’re running full tilt to the first barrel, you are a little bit out of control. There’s not a chance that you have full, complete control of that animal at that specific time. So really appreciating and understanding and accepting more importantly that yes, you are out of control like your horses running and that’s okay. You need to be okay feeling out of control because I think we all can relate due to this whole pandemic going on. Is that in life, we don’t have a ton of control of really what happens.
And this was really just shown that I think for me is, wow. You know, we really don’t have a ton of it. So when I’ve been riding, thinking of that as well has helped me with everything in life of realizing and being okay with things happening and me understanding and not getting super invested because I know I cannot do anything about it. I can’t change someone’s mind. I can’t change the world situation. There’s a lot of things I can’t do. And I sure as hell can not have a hundred percent control on my barrel horse when we’re running a barrel pattern. It goes hand in hand. So to me, that I think is kind of a cool lesson that has taught me to just be comfortable with knowing I’m not in control of everything at all times when I do run and I ride my horse, I’ve struggled a lot with the phrase and the thought of being seen.
And Bernay Brown has some really good books about vulnerability and just showing up, going into the arena. Her arena is different. Where, when I literally heard her say go in their arena, I took a very literal because I would struggle with being seen and being in the spotlight. And it’s kind of ironic that I literally have a podcast because I’m kind of putting myself out there, but the idea of going in the pen to be seen, to have potential judgment, to have potential anything thing is a very scary thought for me. And once I was able to wrap my head around being okay, going in there, Penn having my 15 to 24 seconds of fame, either barrels or pools, it’s okay to be seen. It’s okay to put yourself out there and actually enjoy your moment. It’s your moment to shine. And don’t shy away from, from it show up there as your full true self.
And it’s your time and enjoy your little moment. You showed up to the barrel race. You drove, however far you prepared you and your horse enjoy being seen. And that also comes with just the preparation made me think of, you know, actually planning and preparing for your best. And I’ve preached that a lot because when I started a new job and I’m halfway through the job, I still want to show up every day and I’ve said it before. It’s like, it’s my interview day. I want to show up every day for the, we have something amazing happening. I don’t want to show up with no makeup on feeling like a bomb, not fully prepared for my day. And yeah, then I lose it on the chance of something awesome happening. And I literally have gotten two jobs with no resumes because I really feel my ability to show up as much my self, my true self, and be actually prepared for my day has made me really good connections.
And it has literally given me jobs with no resume because I was prepared. The example I’m going to give is when I was in college, I would go to class and I made sure I was prepared for my day. I didn’t show up in my pajamas and just get through the class and go home and go back to bed or something. Maybe I did it once or twice, but for the most part, I was very much together. I showed up, I went out into the world and to, into society. I’m like, here I am, I’m prepared for anything happening this day. And because of that, I found out there was a popup event going on for lunch. And it was to find after grad students for a job I showed up, I literally didn’t have a resume with me, but I was prepared to be there.
And I talked to the HR people. I told them my situation and they gave me their contact to like, send us your resume. We’d like to have you. And that only happened because I put on real pants, partly, that’s why it happened. But seriously, I just tried to show up and be prepared for the best. And I think that’s what was happening. And so when you ride and show up to a barrel race, I really think if you’re not prepared and you’re not, you don’t have pride in what you and your horse looked like and how prepared you are. You might not perform as good as you’re going to want to. So I really believe on that whole. It’s not just about the appearance, but it’s about how you feel. And I really stand beside look good, feel good. And if I feel good, I know I’m going to ride good.
And I’m going to show up in the world. Good. I’m going to feel more confident because I spent 15 more minutes on my outfit or something to make myself feel actually confident. And when I go to a barrel race, if my horse is covered in crap and doesn’t look good and has burrs or something, I’m not going to be proud to show him off. And I’m not actually going to be proud to go in the arena and to be seen. And I want to be proud of the you’re in the arena. And I want to be seen and be comfortable being seen and being comfortable with potential judgment and blah, blah, whatever people mean. People say and stuff. I need to be okay with it. And the first step I think to me, being okay with it is showing up, ready for it, showing up, feeling good.
So being seen in the arena and in general, in real life, I think has played a big part for me and actually being comfortable doing that. The other thing, the other big takeaway that I’ve had that barrel racing has taught me and made me feel at peace with is the competition aspect of you’re not competing against other people. You are very much running your own race. And I heard someone say that and the idea, and you know, the quote run your own race was mind blowing. It just was like an eyeopening moment where I was like, you know what? That is so, so true. And it’s in that with barrel racing. It’s in that with real life, we talk about comparison so so much, and you can’t compare yourself or your times to other people, you can’t watch their progress and compare it to yours because it is going to absolutely kill you.
And I learned that kind of the hard way where I would get envious and I’d be like, why is that happening to her? But not me. And then I’d almost be mad when someone would win. And that’s such an ugly, unhealthy thought to have of being like, Oh, that person’s doing it. That bothers me. Like, that’s not good. That’s not okay because that’s negative and negative feeds negativity. And it’s going to pretty much bite you in the ass because it’s probably gonna make you not do good because you’re just brewing up that negative energy up in your head. And it’s gonna be like, okay, fine. You want to be negative. Here’s a bad run, a bad week, a bad day, whatever it is for you. But I just think the whole comparison thing needs to stop. And I learned that firsthand from barrel racing. And they say that comparison is the thief of joy.
And I feel that I’ve experienced it by when I would compare. And I instantly feel like I’m behind. And I compare someone, you know how I said, the good, bad I would compare. Someone’s good with my bad. And I’d be like, what the heck is happening? And I would feel so stuck in helpless. Like I couldn’t do anything. And I’d just be like, why is that person get everything? And I have nothing, and that’s not even showing any gratitude or your life and what you do have. It’s just not healthy for anybody when you compete and compare to other people. So stop doing it. If you do, it’s so much easier said than done, but really when you’re able to let go of that comparison, thought it really puts you at ease. So with even school and people’s jobs and boyfriends or relationships you see on Facebook and you wonder, Oh, they have all that.
Why don’t I have that? And you need to think of what you do have and think of if someone’s doing really well, that’s amazing. Good for them. You don’t know what they’ve overcome to get to that point. Just like you might do really well for a bit. And you shouldn’t even feel bad about doing well. And that’s also something I’m pretty sure people struggle with because if I struggle with it, chances are someone else might as well. Hopefully I’m not the only one. But when you do, while you almost feel bad for doing well or feeling weird, like, Oh, I did a lot better than someone else. And then it makes you feel uncomfortable where that shouldn’t happen either. It should be very much everyone can cheer on everybody and be happy for everyone’s individual accomplishments. Because at the end of the day, it’s only about us.
It’s only, we’re only competing against ourselves. No one else, obviously in sports, the competition aspect, we need to kind of, I think divide the actual company petition and the results to our own competition we have with ourself and our own personal results, because those are two very different things. So when we do go and we run our own race, and if we accomplished our own personal best, but we didn’t beat everybody, that’s still okay. And when we see someone getting a cool job promotion, that we’re really jealous of, it’s okay to be happy for them because that’s their path. They might’ve done some incredible things to get them there that you don’t know about. So all you can do is just be happy that they’re getting there. And then you know that it is possible for everybody in, you know, when people come from the bad to over to the really good, or they always have had really good, it seems like, and it’s makes you sour.
You shouldn’t even look at them. They get them off your Facebook, get anything that makes you feel that way out of your viewpoint. And I went through that where I got rid of Instagram people that made me instantly start judging myself because they were really good. Uh, not intentionally I’m sure, but they are really good pages to make me feel like crap. I would look at them and be like, Oh, they’re so pretty. They have all this stuff. They go on trips. Their life looks amazing. And do you not see that? Like I’m instantly thinking of all the things I don’t have and I’m feeling jealous and envious of this other person who I really don’t even know they’re on Instagram. Like half the people don’t know in real life. So how on earth can you compare yourself with them when you don’t even know their real life?
That actually brings up another point that I’m going to thank my girl. Bernay Brown again for is. She said that people are hard to hate up, close something along those lines. And that has stuck with me clearly. I’m saying it again. It really has stuck with me because if you actually got up close to someone and got to learn them, you wouldn’t probably feel that way. You wouldn’t feel annoyed that they’re just on top forever. You would eventually probably feel really happy for them. And it’s a beautiful sport of barrel racing and getting through life. Okay, you need to be happy for other people’s wins. And in turn, when you have a win, you need to feel happy for yourself and other people feel happy for you as well. If you just generate that healthy, good energy of being excited for people’s wins and then being excited for your own wins.
Like doesn’t, that seem so much better than being sour about someone winning because ultimately their win has nothing to do with you has to do with them. So let it be about them for a minute and not have it instantly be compared about what you haven’t done or what you haven’t won, because girl, it’s going to be your time soon. I guarantee it. And when it is that your time, you don’t want people to be jealous of you because you know, you’ve worked your butt off to get to that point. And if people are jealous of you, you going to think that they really shouldn’t be because you’ve overcome your own set of obstacles to get there. And we’re all different. So seeing the results are actually seeing the hard work that went into those results. So when you see someone amazing Instagram, their perfect pole bending video, and they’re like, so happy, all that stuff.
I know it might be easy to think, wow. They seem to do really well all the time. I can’t get it together for one pole run. I can’t do it. And you know, that’s okay, that’s your own struggle that you’re going to overcome. And I made a post on Instagram recently, where it says, struggle, perseverance equals respect if you struggle, but you persevere. People are going to see that. And when you come and you get victory and the victory was yourself, and you’ve made that improvement, like your own personal improvement, you know, people are going to be happy for you. And it’s a great feeling. You don’t want people to feel how you might feel about someone else. You know what I mean? Like if someone wins, they, the winner doesn’t want to feel uncomfortable winning the winner wants to win or do really well and have people feel good about that and not make them uncomfortable that they did.
Okay. And that’s just another version of just super unhealthy behavior of someone’s way up here doing well. Someone’s down there. And I mean in life and barrel racing, even just in life in general, if people are like way down there and someone’s climbing a ladder to success, whatever that ladder looks like for them and the people at the bottom are like, why are you going up that high? Why are you doing that? Why even bother? That’s not healthy. That’s not good for you. All people to encourage you, if you are at the bottom or you’re at the top, but you all are encouraging each other up. That’s when you really win, has nothing to do with your results or your time. But if you are literally able to encourage everybody at all levels, if they’re all trying to go up the same ladder to get the same version of success for them themselves, that’s winning has nothing to do with the competitiveness of barrel racing or the competitive of anything in life.
Boom. And you know what? I’m keeping that boom in there. I don’t care. That was awesome. And so true. And I really hope you guys are able to get something from that. This is the end of my TedTalk. Just kidding. But I hope that was nice. There’s a lot of other things I can say that barrel racing has taught me as far as, you know, the fitness aspect of it. And I’ve said it a few times and hopefully, you know, like I’m into the fitness. I love it. And I know it makes a difference with my writing and my mental performance. Fitness has no negative benefit. If you do any research, you know, like being active, eating, right, drinking your water, and just trying to improve yourself on a daily basis is going to help you barrel racing life, all of the above every way.
So I just encourage you to, if you want to step up your game in barrel racing, or in general, with your job, your fitness level relationships with you or others, to try to strive, to do make a 1% difference every day. If you can do one thing, that’s going to help you. I was just thinking of it the other day. Actually, I think it was literally today. Sorry it was today that if you do or don’t do something, the time is gonna pass regardless. So if you sit on your butt all day, but you want to work out and you’re like, no, I don’t know. Or, you know, you have all the vitamins, but you don’t take them just small things like that. If you don’t take it, the time is going to pass or you choose to take it to help you. And I feel like I’ve kind of struggled with that.
We’re thinking, Oh, like this much time went by. What’s the point anymore? Where there’s always a point because you always have tomorrow to make that change. And just because you slacked off for a week or a month or a year, you never went to the gym. Today is no better time than to start because tomorrow’s coming before, you know it a whole nother year is gonna pass and you never did the thing that you actually want to do. So even new barrel racers are people that want to buy that next barrel Horace or like step up their game, get a step up horse, whatever it looks like to you. There’s no better time than now in that sense of the time’s going to pass. So if it’s something you want to do, try and make it happen and take those vitamins, drink that water. Don’t wait till tomorrow.
Better yourself to better your horse. This is the end of my podcast episode. So if you like this or even better, if you can relate to this and want to actually share your story, I would love to have you on my show. I would love to sit down with everybody. It doesn’t matter if you’re world champ just starting. It doesn’t matter. And I’d love to hear, like, I want to hear people’s stories.
So the question I have for you is why has barrel racing taught you that is translated over to your day to day life, such as all the examples I just gave.
If you have anything else you wanted to add, or if you can relate to this, let me know in the comments and I want to hear about it. So if you want to get together for a nice little recorded conversation to answer this question of what barrel racing has taught you, let me know don’t be a stranger. Let’s talk about it. So thank you for listening to this episode. I wish all the best for this week and we’ll talk next Tuesday. Bye for now.