People in the equestrian world become consumed by the sport, no matter the discipline. It becomes part of our purpose in life. For some of us it’s why we get out of bed every morning. We plan everything we do around taking care of horses from feeding on time, fitness schedules, vet appointments, farriers, showing, all the way down to choosing who’s handling them. There is little time during the day that isn’t being consumed by the thought of horses, even when you’re doing non horsey tasks. Linking the equine industry to your job is common. It leads to fulfilling the craving of horses every day. Whether you go to school to become a veterinarian, or learn on the go starting a business such as Chic Equestrian, your life becomes centered around horses. We gain purpose by having horses in our lives, meaning a more fulfilled life.
Several of us who’s purpose in life revolves around horses have tried to work 9-5s and we become miserable. There is a struggle and we tell ourselves it’s worth it for the money but in reality, those jobs aren’t fulfilling a purpose in life for us so what’s the point? I’m guilty of trying to earn ‘real money’ working a desk job that had nothing to do with my purpose in life. Sure, I was good at it and I would enjoy the success of doing my job well during the day, but when I’d go home, I’d be miserable in the evenings and mornings before work. I couldn’t figure out why I felt as if my life was a massive rut. After a year and a half of this growing this rut into a trench, I was in a position to go back to school. Thankfully with this change horses were back in my life daily.
Having short-term and long-term goals with the horses made me feel happy again. I didn’t know this at the time, but the attitude shift came from fulfilling a purpose with my daily work. My soul was getting filled in the barn. I tried figuring out how to craft a future out of the situation I was in, but I couldn’t see a way forward. I’m an extremely realistic person for good and for bad. I think years down the road, sometimes skipping what next week looks like. This searching continued for several years before I came up with the idea of Chic Equestrian. I was still blissfully unaware of how fulfilling a purpose could drive the decisions I made. I knew I should be doing something I believed in, and if my values didn’t line up with it then I wouldn’t be happy. I was making decisions based on my gut instincts, and listening to that little voice in my head. In hindsight my sub conscience was guiding me towards a life that was centered around my purposes. Horses and creating are now the things that get me out of bed every morning.
Through following my passions and mixing them with work my life feels meaningful. Starting Chic Equestrian and creating designs like the Essential Sun Shirt, brought harmony to my purposes. No matter how wonderful living out my purpose is, it still creates problems for me. My successes and what I view as ‘failures’ at work can affect my mood and attitude deeply. If I don’t reach a sales goal or don’t get that new client I was banking on, my day feels shot. If I outperform a sales goal or a new product idea has a sample come turn out perfect on the first try, I’m over the moon excited and ignore everything else. This is a result of linking my purpose to my job and likewise. Many people struggle with finding the balance of this, because where else do we get validation for our actions? We know not to look to others for their approval, so we turn inward.
There has to be a separation of purpose and job. But how? In the equestrian industries we take our highs and lows at work and compare them to the highlight reels of everyone else’s lives. This industry is success driven. If I have a bad day, it can easily make me feel like a failure. It's hard to feel like my job isn’t me and I’m not my job. Chic Equestrian has taught me that the sale of a sun shirt or a men’s breech doesn’t hold the power to write the story of my life. While I think it is amazing to be able to pursue my purpose at work every day there still is the problem of not letting the two get overly intertwined.
Only once I identified that my purpose and job are separate entities, could I begin stepping off the emotional rollercoaster. I tried to harness the ‘I don’t care’ attitude on bad days and continued linking my purpose and job together for self-validation. It wasn’t a long-term solution, and I just end up lying to myself. Or my favorite is the ‘oh well, there’s always tomorrow’ I’d say it out loud, but didn’t believe it. Going out and gaining experiences in life lead me to finding my purpose. Educating myself on me and the world happening around me allowed for the opportunities to chase my purpose. New experiences positive or negative showed me in black and white if my balance was off. I wish for everyone that they can stop living on repeat without purpose, and change their life in some way to find their purpose and pursue it.
Water and feed the rose that is life, don’t get stuck on the thorns. They are strong and hurtful. The rose has beautiful petals, that will blossom and die. A change brought by loss allows for better new petals.