‘When you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life’.
A lot of people are credited for that quote, from Confucius to Mark Twain. It sounds nice. It’s true, and there's a downside you have to watch out for. Luckily there are steps you can take to make sure you love your life and have a sustainable business that works for you.
In college, I was on my way to finding a ‘real job’, but people kept paying me to help them with their horses. It felt so much like play I never stopped, and now horses are my career! How cool is that?!
Trouble in paradise:
The trouble with making a career out of what you love is that it’s easy to OVER do it. In my thirties I had a full schedule of high level and fun horses and students. I was loving it, but I was also exhausted all the time. It was unsustainable. I kept doing it and soon was so burned out and out of balance that I was ready to quit horses altogether. Yikes. It IS possible to ‘love something to death’.
When you burn out from doing something you love, you not only lose income; you also lose your passion. That’s a horrible feeling that I hope you never experience.
"When instructors learn how to leverage their time while delivering higher value for their students - everyone wins."
Professional equestrians who love what they do often undervalue their own talents. Many practically give their services away. This 'what's so great about me?' mindset also prevents them from marketing themselves appropriately. That is a recipe for an unsustainable business!
These professionals will ultimately need to switch to another job for income or will have to sell their own horses... Or BOTH! Their opportunity to have a career doing what they truly love will vanish with a whimper.
Often it is the most humble and heart-centered people that suffer this fate… These are exactly the ones the horse world needs the most! If you love what you do, don't keep yourself a secret! You are doing students a disservice by not letting them know what you have to offer... If you don't change something soon, you really won't 'work a day in your life' because you won't have any business!
When I mentor professionals to create fulfilling, profitable, and sustainable lives they can LOVE in the horse business, I help them go deep into WHY they love working in the horse business. That passion needs to be very alive and present because it is the fuel you need to make the changes that need to be made. Then I help them stop doing what’s NOT working. We take the biggest stress points and see how we can replace them with something that will be more fun, easy and leveraged.
I won’t lie. It takes work. Just like with developing horses, sometimes you have to work hard to get things to a place where you don’t have to work hard. You’ve got to work hard ON your business so you can enjoy working IN your business.
First: Ask yourself...
What is your WHY? Why do you love working with horses?
Then: Stop doing these 3 things...
- STOP putting your own horses as the lowest priority. Your horses are your continuing education and will fuel your passion.
- STOP undervaluing and undercharging for your time. This includes working on your day off, or giving huge on-going discounts to friends. If you don't think you are valuable, no one will.
- STOP keeping yourself a secret because you don’t like ‘marketing’. Students deserve to know who you are and what you offer! Help them find you.
The world needs fewer cranky horse trainers. If the professionals in the horse business are happy, fulfilled humans, then the horses they touch can be happier. When instructors learn how to leverage their time while delivering higher value for their students - everyone wins. Together we can make the world a better place for horses.
Karen Rohlf, creator of the Dressage Naturally program, is an internationally recognized clinician who is changing the equestrian educational paradigm. She is well known for doing dressage with a priority of partnership, her student-empowering approach to teaching, her virtual courses, and her positive and balanced point of view. She mentors professionals in the horse industry through her Transform Your Business Seminar and her For The Love Of The Horse Mastermind & Mentorship program.
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