NALF Line | September 2012

What Motivates You?

What motivates you? I remember when Dr. Mark Hoge assigned the task of putting together a presentation on the one thing that motivated us to get out of bed in the morning for his Agriculture Strategies course. It was really a cover letter and resumé class, but Hoge being Hoge decided we needed to do a little project at the end of the semester.

I also recall how easy it was for me to determine what my one motivation was—cattle. I didn’t care if it was show cattle, synchronizing heifers or sorting fat cattle at the feedlot. Cattle have been and always will be my passion.

Motivation has been described as the process that initiates, guides and maintains goal-oriented behaviors. It is the feeling that forces us to make choices for a positive outcome.

Realistically, people set goals every day. Some needless to say, are easier to achieve than others. Let’s face it, without motivation the whole world would be spending each day lying on the couch eating Cheetos. That is not a productive way to live.

So I must ask, what motivates you? Is it your favorite steer or heifer in the barn, or knowing you will get to see your best friends at the next show? Is it the pride you feel when you lead your bred-and-owned heifer in the show ring? Maybe it’s the feeling you have when you win showmanship. It could be any, all or none of those things. The factors in life that act as our motivators are unique to each person. Not all people are motivated by showing livestock. Think about this, when you run out of milk you dread going to the store, but you know that if you don’t swing by and pick up another gallon you may not get to eat breakfast the next day. The thought of going one morning without your Corn Pops could be devastating.

Sometimes failure can be the biggest form of motivation. Getting beat might be the little push some folks need to work a little harder or spend a little more time in the barn. Everyone will struggle with adversity at some point in their lives. It is the way they choose to handle it that ultimately makes the biggest difference.

I was once a junior exhibitor too. I remember bouncing out of bed to bring my heifers in the barn during the summer months. It was one of the highlights of my day. They were always happy to see me, partially because I fed them, and also because I spent all day, everyday with them. We had one of those bonds like some folks have with their pets. When I was young, it was that feeling that motivated me.

I never won anything that set me apart. I showed homegrown stock and worked hard. I was once moved from 12th place at Junior Nationals to sixth place. My dad chewed on me for not doing a better job of showing because I probably could have been moved up to third. That particular event motivated me to want to become the best I could be at the halter and over time, with some coaching from someone who didn’t make me want to throw my show stick, I got better.

Take for example, if you served as a mentor to a Tenderfoot, you actively tried to motivate someone. You provided a young person with not only a new friend, but with a role model. Many of them would have walked away saying they want to be just like you. Maybe they spent a little more time that week working hair, or maybe they watched you compete in showmanship and picked up a couple of pointers to make themselves better. Regardless, you had a positive impact on another individual.

It is an ongoing cycle. One day they will be mentors to kids just getting started in the breed, and they will remember how much you influenced them. Be proud of that, and let that experience motivate you.

Breeders, you should be motivated by the quality of cattle you raised that were shown by these juniors. Those line ups could compete with the best of any breed out there. For those of you un-motivated by the show ring, there is always the goal of producing superior seedstock or better grading feeder cattle. That is the beauty of this breed. There are so many options when you run Limousin cattle. No matter what your final destination is there is market for your product.

From one division to the next, regardless of whether it was in the Purebred or Lim-Flex® show, the quality at this year’s 36th annual National Junior Limousin Show & Congress was exceptional.

Those of you who sat ringside know exactly what I am talking about. All breeders, promoters and exhibitors who had cattle at this year’s show should be extremely proud. On top of the high quality of cattle, there was also an amazing set of young people. They competed individually and on teams in a dozen different contests, demonstrating their knowledge and passion for not only the Limousin breed but for the cattle industry as a whole. If the class of cattle and young people in this breed doesn’t motivate you, then I don’t know what will!

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