Show Up Early

Gry in dwyI love it when a student says they just didn’t have time to practice showmanship or ride without stirrups or to go to the gym. Next thing out of their mouth is usually something about the latest Bachelorette episode, a funny picture someone posted on Facebook, how long the line was at Starbucks or the great movie they saw with friends over the weekend.

Funny thing is, we all make time for the things that matter most to us.  Whether it’s watching your favorite show, going to the gym or doing a couple of laps without your irons, the fact of the matter is, we do what matters most to us. I am not saying you should not watch TV, go to the movies or stop at Starbucks. But there is a correlation between the time and effort contributed and the success of the project.

We all make choices. And choosing to show up early gives respect to who you are, what you are doing and the people you are doing things with. It substantiates your commitment. If a matter is serious to you, you will not only give it time, but show up early.

A couple things happen when you show up early. First, as mentioned above, it shows seriousness and a strong desire to be successful. Other people who show up early are also serious individuals with knowledge to share.  They provide endless opportunities for you to learn and make connections.  You will have the undivided attention of those few who show up early – the dedicated elite.

Opportunities abound when you show up early. You may notice that your horse wakes up with a swollen hind fetlock. A call to the vet may lead to treatment for a medical issue that grossly improves your lead changes. Perhaps it leads to your meeting another early arriver who has suffered the same fate as you and offers a solution you had not yet discovered.

Conditions are often best when you show up early. Arrive at the horse show at 6:30 for an 8:00 a.m. start and you will likely find the show pen packed wall to wall with horses, their riders crossing paths as if at a demolition derby. Arrive at 5:00 a.m. and you ride in an arena void of conflict with time to spare. The extra hour and a half allows you to feed your horse breakfast with punctually, have a meal yourself and prepare for the day without dashing around in anxious anticipation. Result: a happy horse, eager to perform for his calm and cool partner.

Benefits of showing up early:

  • It shows respect to your commitment.
  • Preparation will be more thorough.
  • Opportunities will arise that otherwise would not.
  • Conditions are best when you show up early
  • Early arrival allows you to keep your cool.
  • You will have the undivided attention of other devotees.

Showing up early does not necessarily mean that you have to be up at the crack of dawn. However, I can’t help but be struck by the determination of the women around me as I leave the gym at 6:30 a.m. after a workout. I am constantly impressed by their commitment to good health. Most of them leave the gym wearing full make-up, nice clothes and perfectly coifed hair. I am lucky; after hitting the shower, I leave the gym and head for the barn, sans makeup and fancy shoes, my hair thrown up in a ponytail.  But we all leave the gym buoyed with energy from endorphins released during our morning exercise. Everyone’s attitude is always excellent. We are ready to go; excited for what lays ahead and eager to take advantage of the opportunities we know will unfold in the time we have been given.