By Rob Jacobs
If you have followed my writings throughout the year, you would have noticed the theme this year has been how to accomplish your individual goals within the equestrian industry. I can always remember feeling as though I would have to build the life I ultimately wanted for myself. It was clear the life I wanted wouldn’t be handed to me at some random moment. I believe I felt this way because of how I was raised, but also because of how I’m “wired” naturally. The older I became, the more I realized things wouldn’t happen overnight, yet would take time to develop into what I hoped for. Growth would take time—a lot of time—it would take decades and I became OK with that. This realization forced a calm and patient aura within me, as opposed to being in a frantic panic. It became easier to remain encouraged because I knew internally, building my career and building who I was becoming as a person was supposed to take decades.
Although as a kid I always felt behind in the sport, I knew I would catch up and be on track for where I believed I should be later in life. I no longer feel behind, but I do recognize there is still a lot of work that needs to happen to continue moving me closer toward my vision. Viewing each phase of my journey as a single building block that goes toward a structure that would at a later date become more and more complete has helped me compartmentalize the process of growth. This structure, in my opinion, will never be complete, as I believe that as long as I’m alive, I really need to continue learning the industry and advancing my skills and knowledge. This structure lives within my mind and I’m able to see more and more of it as I make progress.
This mindset will eventually give me an opportunity to further develop the skills needed to have continued success in the industry. I enjoy many parts of our sport and am passionate about judging and teaching. It would be an honor to develop my skills so that I’m able to judge some prestigious horse shows in the future. I also enjoy advancing the training of our horses and riders here in Seattle, and receive great joy when I’m home teaching lessons to all levels. We’re building our futures if we realize it or not. Ideally, we are building our futures with strong, durable materials that will last a lifetime. I have observed others perhaps building their “structures” with materials that are likely to blow down during the smallest “turbulence in life.” Surely this metaphor helps you understand the point I’m making about how important it is to take seriously how you navigate the industry.
Each month’s column thus far has carried a theme to help young professionals navigate an industry as unique as the equestrian industry. My February column was on burnout. Just as it’s important to work diligently on your future, it’s equally important to enjoy life. Enjoying the small, seemingly insignificant things will likely reduce the chance you may burn out. It’s not sustainable to go through your years as a young professional with extreme anxiety, high levels of stress or constant weeks of working over 100 hours. Any of these three will be required at some point in your professional journey, if not already. The goal is to ensure these moments in your career do not last long—so that you may last long.
Photo by Julia B Photography