Every year, the excitement of the NFR inspires many barrel racers to blast down the alley at the Thomas and Mack themselves one day.
However, spectators often only see the more glamorous side of professional barrel racing, represented by the beautiful blinged-out women and horses that race through the pattern night after night.
What they don’t see or experience in the stands or in front of the TV are the many no-so-glamorous hours and miles that go into making a National Finals Rodeo qualification a reality. With a ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse into the world of professional barrel racing, many of those with NFR dreams would be deterred pretty quickly. But then, there are those few of us who are not deterred at all…
Over 20 years ago, I wrote down a goal – “Become a Professional Barrel Racer.”
The path I’ve traveled since then has been filled with highs and lows. Some experiences built my confidence, some were humbling, but all were valuable gifts because I learned from each of them. As the new year approaches, I’m more excited than ever to see what lessons are in store on my barrel racing journey. But I’m not setting goals.
WHY, you ask!? Well, determination to become successful led me to study the “science of success.”
Did you know that synonyms for the word “Goal” are hinder, end, obstacle, and barrier!? Ewwwww! Not something I want in my barrel racing program, or in my life at all for that matter!
The American Society for Training and Development found that of those people who consciously decide to set a goal, only 25% achieve them.
In the past few months, I’ve had moments of inspiration that have started to bring clarity to my desires for the coming year. The old me generated goals from my head, and methodically planned out all the steps to reach my destination. There was so much focus on reaching the finish line.
Sometimes I’d reach it, sometimes I wouldn’t, in either case, I never really felt fulfilled. When I reflect on the process of setting goals, it all seems very rigid, like obligations I must follow. In fact, it’s often almost felt like there’s someone chasing ME with a whip – yuck!
It’s my intention this week to set aside some quiet time to gain even more clarity on my desires for the coming year. Yep, I’ve replaced goals with desires. Reason being, that goal setting is a cognitive process, they are developed through realistic reasoning. Desires on the other hand, are inspired from our heart, we don’t necessarily plan and control every step, but surrender the outcome to a power greater than ourselves.
As barrel racers, many of us have developed an overly masculine, “do or die,” aggressive way of fighting to reach our goals. But a “do or die,” approach just isn’t healthy all-around, especially when it comes to working with horses.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m prepared to work hard for my desires to become reality, but I’d rather step through doors that open before me than bust them down. What I’m suggesting is that achieving true success might be more about how we FEEL, than what we DO.
Desires come from the inspired you, not the reasonable you. They come from an inner place of love rather than fear. Different from a want, they are not created from a sense of deficiency and lack. Most importantly, desires release attachment to a specific end result. With my desires in place, I’m letting go of limits and opening to the possibility that where I end up may be even greater than any goal I could have imagined for myself.
When we get clear on our desires, it provides a map, a north star guide to creating true success that FEELS good regardless of any outer measurable results that may accompany our accomplishments.
In the same way that the start of a barrel run is critical, the way you start your year can set the tone for the months that follow. Consider ALL your heart’s desires, ask yourself each of the questions below.
Listen deeply and write or draw whatever comes to you without holding back. Be willing to ask for and receive the life you desire, no one else can create it by you. Click here for these questions in the form of a free, printable worksheet.
- Who do I desire to BE?
- What do I desire to DO?
- What do I desire to HAVE?
To make sure your Be, Do and Haves are generated from an authentic place, go a step further and after each answer, ask yourself WHY?
From this list, declare a list of 4-6 desires that you are committed to focusing on.
Write and rewrite these desires until the words capture the essence of what you really want.
Claim your desires by making a visual representation on a screen saver or vision board, etc. with a combination of photos, powerful words and cutouts from magazines, etc..
Check in throughout the year (I recommend at least once a month) and ask…
- How am I feeling about (__desire__)?
- In what areas is more of my time, energy and resources needed?
I envision great things in store for the new year. I am ready and willing to put my best effort forth, which may mean long hours, hard work, and more of those humbling experiences.
However, the entire journey will be one that will flow with a little more ease and grace, all because I ditched goals and obligation, and started my year off with desires and inspiration, which is a far more powerful and enjoyable way to travel on the path to barrel racing success.
*Since I first published this article, I came across a definition of desire – “De” means “the,” and “sire” means “Father.” I’d like to share a few words from the book “God Wants You to Win” Vol. II by World Champion Calf Roper, Jeff Copenhaver…
“Where do your unique God-given desires come from? The Father! Where does the desire to use your gifting, abilities and resources to glorify Him come from? Yes, they come from Him. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Who’s putting that fire – that creativity, that new invention-that world changing idea in you? It’s coming from above. Look at James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gifts come down from the Father above…” God places incredibly heavenly gifts in us and then He ignites them with fire. It’s called “desire” and comes from the Father.”
What are YOUR desires for the New Year?
Do YOU have any tips for staying on track?
Let me know in the comments below, and here’s that link again to download the questions above in free, printable worksheet.