• General,  Leadership,  Stock Show Life

    4 Principles to Step up Your Showmanship

    Recently, I helped with a Master Showmanship clinic for cattle, sheep, and hogs. As I prepared for this event, I came up with 4 principles across the board to step up your game. Showmanship is more than how you brace or how you hold a halter, it’s about your ability to present an animal in the most effective way possible. These 4 principles, once mastered, will help you step up your showmanship to the next level. Intensity. This is one of the more difficult principles to master. Intensity is about being focused on the actions you’re taking and making sure there is purpose in each of them. Being in the…

  • General,  Leadership,  Stock Show Life

    Don’t Mistake Confidence For Cockiness

    When I began raising market lambs, I knew absolutely nothing. I would have them for three months, sell them at our small town fair, and gawk at the sight of my paycheck by the end of my project. When I started developing a greater passion for showing livestock, I decided to take lambs to our county fair as well. I ended up winning my showmanship division and I was over the moon! I couldn’t believe that my first time ever showing alongside big time competitors, I was the one that rose to the top. Because this was my first big win, my parents pumped me up. A LOT. And so…

  • General,  Leadership

    The best kept secret in the show stock business

    We all do it. Every single one of us. We look for a competitive edge, a new tip or trick that will take us to the next level, a top-secret solution to improve our game and give us an edge on show day. People spend a lot of time and effort searching for secrets, thinking if they had an inside track they could level up or even upend the competition. There’s one secret in the show stock business most people aren’t prepared to handle. Are you ready? Here it comes! There are no secrets. There is only knowledge, and the funny thing about knowledge is we all start in the…

  • General,  Leadership

    Why you must empty the wheelbarrow tonight

    We’ve all been there. It’s been a long day. School, then practice, then chores and now it’s late. The sun has gone down and you’ve just finished in the barn for the night. Except there’s still that one lingering task. The wheelbarrow you filled today is still sitting by the door. It needs to be emptied. You know it should be emptied, but you are tired, you tell yourself. Plus there’s homework to be done. It can surely wait until the morning. And it could. It could wait until morning. It could wait until you’ve come to the barn to start the next day’s tasks. Now that you mention it,…

  • General,  Leadership

    Influence: How you can change the world

    Maybe you don’t think it’s possible, but whether you realize it or not, we all have an influence on the world. Influence is your ability to affect change in the world around you and the truth is that you affect change whether or not you’re even trying. You are already exerting influence. You do make a difference. What kind of difference do you make? What kind of influence do you have? Is it positive? Or something else? Do you encourage your friends to skip practice or do you encourage them to practice harder? Do you stand idly by while someone gets teased or do you step in and say something?  Do…

  • Leadership

    They just don’t get it and that’s O.K.

    It’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon. You’re at the county fair, hanging out with your friends on the show box. The sounds of the midway and the smell of deep-fried everything fill the air. There are people everywhere. A stranger walks up and begins to ask you questions about your animal. “What’s his name?” “What does he eat?” “Where do you keep him?” The strangers questions seem endless. “How could anyone go through life and know so little about animals?” You wonder. Now, imagine the moment the stranger leaves. Did you and your friends giggle about how uninformed the stranger was or did they give you props for advocating about agriculture?…

  • General,  Leadership

    Everyone has a publicist

    Last month, I was LIVE on Periscope and Facebook for the first time. I don’t know that the content was all that awesome, but what is awesome is the ability to live broadcast to anyone from anywhere, all with the phone in my pocket. When I was growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, the biggest publicity I got was my name in the local newspaper for a county 4-H judging award, that week’s track meet, or maybe an FFA event. I bet I still have all those old newspaper clippings somewhere, probably in a scrapbook in the closet of my childhood bedroom. (Sorry, Mom! I promise I’ll get that…

  • General,  Leadership

    7 ways to build your network in the stock show industry

    I showed pigs growing up. When I was in high school and thinking about college and career, I often wished I could start expanding my network. I wanted to meet people who had careers that interested me. (In high school, I wanted to be a farm broadcaster.) I wanted to talk to students a few years older than me who were at a college I wanted to learn more about. (You can major in Agricultural Communication?) Sometimes, I really wanted to talk to a professional whose work I admired. (I listened to the same voices on the radio each day and wanted to know more about their career path.) Since…

  • General,  Leadership

    Why your five best friends matter

    One weekend in high school, I attended an FFA conference along with a few hundred other participants from around the state. The conference was great, the speakers were inspirational, the sessions were motivating, but what I remember enjoying the most was the people around me. They were so uplifting, so motivated, so forward-thinking. Spending time with people like that was very impactful, because I, too, felt more motivated. Jim Rohn, successful author and speaker, once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Whether you’re in the high school hallway, on the basketball court or soccer field, in the studio, at your office,…

  • General,  Leadership

    When you feel like quitting, try this instead

    I get it. It’s cold. If you live north of I-70, there’s a good chance there is snow and ice. Everything seems more difficult in the winter, doesn’t it? Cleaning pens suddenly requires specialized gloves that won’t cut off circulation, somehow keep your hands dry, and still won’t let you get frostbite. Hauling feed now requires skill in ice skating. My personal winter pet peeve: getting dressed to go outside takes longer than the quick barn check itself. In harsh conditions, it’s especially easy to feel like quitting. It’s just going to freeze again tomorrow, why bother breaking up that ice? Surely that one last chore can wait until the…