Take Your Blinders Off

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What do a sheriff, a bandit, and a reality show have to do with ranchgrownlogic?

It all started simple enough. It had been a good day, a full day not unlike any other. I had left work late and was headed home with the sun setting in the West over my shoulder, my radio was turned on high, and I settled in for the drive home.

It’s a short 20 minutes, depending on road conditions, today the time seemed to slip by. My mind was wondering back and forth about work, family, and a million other thoughts as I made my way down the road.  I was looking forward to roping that evening, a little time in the saddle, for those of you who ride know what I mean, it’s good for the soul.

I don’t know if this happens to you but my mind was still racing from the day’s activities and was dancing from one thought to another as I tried to unwind from the busy day.

I love my truck, I call it Big Red Truck, a Dodge dually that commands the road and has earned a reputation of its own among my friends and family. I was rolling along when just down the road ahead of me on the horizon was my home. I could see the arena from the road, and I could see my family out at the barn, a sigh of relief came over me as the stress of the day seemed to melt away, I  was home…time to  rope!

I turned my blinker on and adjusted my seat to look in my rear view mirror. Dang, there he was a cop, lights and all. I really was not sure why, I must have been speeding, but for whatever reason I was being pulled over, right in front of my house, and worse than that with everyone watching.

I knew I was going to get teased over this one; I could hear them already in my head. Oh well, I thought I will take what’s coming …I just could not believe I just got stopped right in front of my house with family watching.

They had heard something from the barn, a siren racing towards the direction of our home. They looked to the road to see what was happening. What in the world? Over the mound in the road barreling down the road was BIG RED TRUCK followed by lights a flashing, siren a blaring, and a sheriff in high pursuit. They did not know what was going on but it had to be big, it was mom, what the heck?

Meanwhile, in front of the house, I had stopped the truck and started to roll down my window. “Get that smirk off your face, he commanded, get out of the truck I have a gun drawn on you.”

Ok, now that’s not funny, what the heck? Sad part was I did not even realize I had been speeding. I wear hearing aids, Pete and Repeat, and obviously they had let me down with the radio on high. My thoughts had been at work, home, and my eyes fixated in the road ahead, I did not see him for 3 long miles. I was speeding 20 mph over speed limit…. But I did not stop, I had not seen him. He thought I had stolen the truck.

“Get, out of that truck now, and puts your hands on the tailgate.” What are you hiding in that truck” nothing I said, “I just wanted to get home.” “You have been speeding since town, why didn’t you stop?” “Well, I said, I ‘m sorry; I just wanted to get home, I did not realize I was speeding.” “Stay here he said, I called in reinforcements, I need to call them off.”

The sun was in my eyes and I know I squinted and trying to see if what he said was really true… Unbelievable… it was, now it was starting to get real, while everything seemed to go into slow motion.

I thought to myself, holy smoke, imagining if they had showed up coming from the other direction, I know I would have wondered what was happening, never dreaming they would be looking for me!

Luckily my family never saw him with the gun drawn, as my husband came around the corner at a fast pace, he said “what’s going on here?” The sheriff told him and he set out to find my papers etc in the truck. Around the other side of the house came my son, dressed as he always does, western shirt, corporate patches, and packing a rope.

My husband was struggling as he tried to locate the papers, “they are here he said, I put them in there.” My son was standing on the road with us now, spinning his rope to one the side of him as if we was about to throw an underhand loop, “what’s going on he said?” I said something and then he told the sheriff, “she can’t hear”…. Well that made the sheriff mad again and told my son to step back or, “I will site you for impeding an investigation.” So literally he stepped back one step on to our lawn but continued to swing his rope as he watched the sage unfold.

A little late to the action, my daughter made her way around the corner of the house. She found a lawn chair picked it up and set it in the middle of the lawn, and sat down, crossed her legs, and proceeded to watch the reality show play out.

I am convinces everything happens for a reason. I was to be taught a lesson. Along with the importance of safety on the road is also a lesson for life and business.

We can get so wrapped up in “the now and our own worlds” that we fail to see what is around us in the moment.

A good idea for example can come from anywhere, but if we lock in and become too focused we can miss out on the beauty alongside the road, or he opportunity to take a idea from good, too better, or even great if we would only take the blinders off.

And as for my family, I love them all for their support when I was in trouble  in my ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ kind of moment. We laughed, not at what I had done, but at ourselves, you can’t make this stuff up.

As for me and Big Red Truck we will keep on trucking… eyes wide open, lesson learned!

  • Good ideas can come from anywhere
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Be willing to engage over ideas
  • Learn to live in the moment.

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BIG TIME Moments

Two days ago I came face to face with life, through death.

We lost a family pet, Lena. She was my son and daughter in-laws dog. She was a friend, family member, and companion. Christmas eve she sat beneath the Christmas stockings, and I was told from a reliable source, that she interfered with deliveries Santa would make. Two days later she gets sick, and two days after that she lost her life.

As we start the New Year and we look to the future we must not lose sight of today.  Each moment is precious. Each day is a gift, not to be wasted on a past that cannot be changed, or the future which is yet to be. Today is precious.

We do not know what the future holds, but what we can do is  make the most of today. Make each day count by making the most of the gift each day brings, we have no guarantees of tomorrow.

Often we can get busy with life and get on the fast track moving from day to day turning days into run away trains, losing focus on the “now” as we rush forward to tomorrow.  When we take each day as it is, a gift to treasure, we can slow down the pace.

Two years ago my sister fought a tough fight against ovarian cancer for six months, with the last three weeks of her life spent in a hospital bed.  She was brave, strong and an inspiration to all. Each day I came to visit here I would say, “how you doing today?”   The day before she died she answered me with, “It’s not the days, it’s the moments.”

I still find myself, every now and then, falling into the hurry of everyday life.  Lena’s death reminded me of my sister’s courageous words and about the importance

Big Time Moments

Big Time Moments

of ‘the moments.’ We need to take care of our today’s  and the treasures found in those moments.

DoWit;

Treasure the Moments

Big Time

 

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Brand Identity

 Little did I know that a chance meeting would forever change how I viewed marketing and the building of brand?

It was in the early morning hours and I had just flown cross country for an event.  We had picked up our luggage and I was waiting for the car as there had been a mix up in reservations and it was taking longer than expected.  I sat down in a never ending row of stadium seats that trailed off into the distance. It was 12:30am and I was exhausted, we still had another hour or two to make it to our destination and I was anxiously waiting for the car to arrive.

I was looking to my left when I felt a presence on my right. A small framed, pretty woman, with grey hair dressed in a black wrap jacket and slacks had sat down next to me.  “All these chairs,” I thought to myself in a selfish moment, she started the conversation and we began visiting with the normal small talk.

I discovered that she was a nun traveling from California and was waiting to meet up with a friend; they were going to attend a conference in the city. She told me of her life and work in California. She shared with me her passion for nursing and in particular her work with aids patients.

I shared with her a fleeting aspiration I had as a young girl to become a nun. I had been inspired by a young woman, a nun Sister Mary Ivan.  She was nothing like the other nuns I had ever known. She was young, pretty, she loved to laugh, sing and ride horses.  For me seeing a nun out of her habit and in a pair of jeans was a curious site. I told her that I could remember playing monopoly and enjoying time with this special person. I remember with fondness those days, my grandmother used to house the nuns when they traveled around to rural communities during the summer and from time to time we would have them in our home, I remember the fun we had and how she made us feel.

There was some silence between us and then I asked her this question. “Where have all the nuns gone?” “You know,” she said, “when we began integration into the communities, we took off our habits’ and we lost our identities.”

This discussion, early in the morning hours, with a sweet gentle person would set the course for my marketing and branding efforts and dedication to staying true to who you are.  Your mark of distinction is your brand, it is your identity.  That identity along with the relationships we foster become cornerstones to our reputations and the impressions we make.

I asked this nun, “where had all the nuns gone” because I could no longer easily identify who they were. Their habit, and point of differentiation, made them visible; their goal to melt into the community, taking off the habits, had also made them melt into the crowd.

This moment in time was forever branded in my mind. Did I have fun that summer because I had seen this nun without her habit and in jeans? Was it because she seemed like one of us without the habit? With that thought I began to miss not seeing nuns in their habits, and the values and faith it represented to me with a simple glance.

The nun I had met that evening was doing great things in her community, she was serving a need, she was satisfied and growing in her life, and she was still a nun, but in different clothes.

The market place is crowded and noisy; every brand will face some form of change. In this ever changing environment the importance of staying true to who are and what you value became real. Brand identity provides direction, purpose and meaning for the brand. Remaining true to the authenticity of the brand, focused, consistent, and credible establish lasting impressions and your mark of distinction.

doWIT-Brand Identity

-Go with conviction

-Stay true to who you are, authentic, focused, consistent, and credible

-Make you mark, focus on value

-Create a lasting impresion

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Pinterest; Circle of Influence

Riding the herd on the ranch or riding the herd of “pins” on Pinterest I have discovered a great truth, it’s personal. Pinterest is an experience that can both surprise and delight developing both passions and influence, while introducing new interest and trails to explore.

Ranch work often requires separating cattle into pens for branding, doctoring, transport and is done by cutting into the herd, this can be done in open fields or in the sorting pens. Cutting cattle into groups or pens, is part of rhythm of ranch life. Pinterest has a similar rhythm of sorting and pinning visually pleasing, message bearing, information and inspiration. Once you ride a cutting horse and experience the big stops and hard turns, there is no going back; it gets in your blood. The same can be said for the Pinterest participants, once you experience and share items of value on your boards of home, arts and crafts, style, fashion, and food  to name a few, there is no going back, you can are hooked; it gets into your blood.

Pinterest popularity comes from its image driven visual component. Pinterest is an easy to use melting pot of interests which is driven by participants and caters to those who like to tell a visual story.  Participants “pin” items they value and “like” photos or graphics that inspire them and will in turn “pin” to a personal board they create. Pinterest is entertainment powered by passions. Like any social network, and even maybe more because of this enthusiastic, growing demographic, Pinterest requires an investment in time that is both enjoyable and relaxing.

Pinterest is an ever changing assortment of interest thus keeping the field open for fresh, new experiences. A “pin” found and posted on a board is branded by the visuals, pin by pin, boards begin to share a story. Pinterest is a place to herd and corral what speaks to your heart that is fueled by inspiration, common interest, and the fun of the hunt. It’s instant gratification, discovery of a pin and then the experience of pinning and sharing what is treasured.

Pinterest  is a melting pot of value based, advocators and influencers. It is a holding pen for personalized wish list, holidays, kids, parenting, teaching tools, recipes, weddings, events, books worth reading, and how-to and more which is limited only to time and discovery. Pinterest is designed to curate and share the things you love while avoiding self promotion. Pinterest is an open range for those who enjoy sharing ideas, creating a circle of influence among followers that is easily organized to access at any time. The joy found on Pinterest is a platform of interest, sharing ideas and things of beauty through visually pleasing images, creating boards that are uniquely you, while avoiding blatant self serving advertising.

Although Pinterest is invite-only, it is not difficult to get an invitation. You can request an invitation from Pinterest home page, or have a friend who is already using Pinterest send you and invitation, that is faster.

For individuals, business, brand, nonprofits, sports teams, or publications to name a few, Pinterest establishes a “herd” of opportunity to meet and to get to know markets, best customers, future customers, and future friends. Pinterest is a place to study values and to delight customers. Pinterest is a place to tell stories while offering things of beauty and be helpful, it is an enjoyable gold mine of discovery .

doWIT: Increase your ‘Circle of Influence’

Be Authentic

•Share your story, share your promise, create and or utilize images and pictures that are relevant in your customer’s lives. It is tempting to promote products, but that can be obvious, opt instead to share insights to your company and products, share the history, and tell the story behind the story. Post other interest that make (you) your brand unique; related topics, educational items, info graphics, and inspirational things; teach and inspire.

Be a Value Creator

•Pin inside and outside your industry. Analyze how people follow and  share your images opening a window into what your customer’s and followers value, what they relate to, and what they view as relevant. Discover who is pinning your pins and follow them back. Add a Pinterest follow bottom to your website and promote your presence on other social networks to encourage followers.

The road to discovery started out like any other ride, Will Rogers said “A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, the other by association with smarter people.”  Over the horizon is Pinterest, a frontier of opportunity; it is a growing community that thrives on authentic, inspirational, visually appealing content. It is telling the stories through photographs and graphics, creating a lifestyle, value based snapshot, of personality, brand, and aspirations. Pinterest is a circle of influence that can be as much or as little as you like, it’s depends on how far you want to ride.

http://pinterest.com/ranchgrownlogic/

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Day Maker

“Back at the ranch” looks like heaven when you are traveling. The hassle of travel can add to stress and thoughts of home, comfort, family, and friends pushes you to get to your gate and on your way.

While traveling through the airport on a recent trip I became hungry and dropped by a fast food restaurant to get something to eat. I looked at the menu and decided on number 1, but from that point on my experience was almost worse than the hunger, definitely more frustrating. They served the meal in random order, one item at a time, the sandwich, the fries, and the drink in non sequential places and not in that order. I watched the customer ahead of me; I copied her as it was more than a little confusing. Getting something to eat should not be this complicated, it should be a pleasure, and dare I say a fine dining experience even if it is fast food.

With meal now gathered I sat down to eat and noticed an elderly couple approaching the order window.  I watched them as they shuffled in confusion just as I had done. After some conversation his wife sat down not in disgust, not in a mad or argumentative way, but more of pure frustration and fatigue. Her husband stayed true to task, he ordered his burgers, found his fries and drink and made his way to the checkout stand only to have the person who was helping him go on break. He was rerouted in another direction, shoulders dropped he completed the transaction. I would guess that this couple valued a quick, hassle free meal; they did not get it and neither did I. The experience made an impression and not a good one; I am still talking about it.

Warning: Beware of the nice customer.  They rarely complain, and they don’t make noise. They may go unnoticed, but they don’t come back.  The nice customers, multiplied go away. I know it’s an airport and the odds of being there, being hungry, and visiting this establishment are slim, but the point is this story can be found every day. Experiences like the day I went to buy a jacket. I was treated with a lack of respect, almost like I was interrupting their day.  I went next door and purchased from the store next to them.  I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, I wanted to walk back in there and say “Big Mistake, Big.” I just wanted to say it!

As consumers we have more choices than ever before. Where there was once competition there is now a runaway herd. Consumers can buy and sell in any number of places, “We are not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.”

Day Maker

In today’s market as a person/business/ brand you must stand out in the crowd. It is show time, everyday in every way.   It has been said before “you may not get a second chance to make a first impression.”  Show your customer the best at what you do; capitalize on the things you do well and then identify what your customer’s value.  Whatever the customer values blazes the trail, cater to their values as it aids in credibility and results in delighting customers through the experiences.

As consumers of goods and services you are empowered and can access information 24/7, you are the jockey. What can you do about it as a business/brand/person? Do what you do best; make a difference, take nothing for granted, and add value.

doWIT: Make someone’s day the right way

Warning: Beware of the nice customer

Know:   Your product or service, know what your customer values

Provide: Value added meaningful goods and service

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Opportunity Horizon

Lead the way, enjoy the view

Miles and miles of beauty unfolded before us as we crested the hill, the view presented a fresh look at the world and gave me an immense appreciation of the majesty of it all.

I found myself thinking about nothing in particular and about everything under the sky, all at the same time. I breathed in a breath of gratitude just to have this opportunity to take this ride, and began enjoying the view from my saddle. It was breathtaking; we were trailing cattle back to the ranch from their summer pasture. The hard work was done as we had made the push up the mountain successfully, and with the trail stretching out below I began to relax and enjoy the ride.

Quite by accident I glanced at the ground and spotted a funny looking rock. It is true, I am amused by many things and this rock reminded me of a  turtle, which are a source of fascination not only for me but also for my dog.  While headed to the barn last summer I saw a rock get up and take a step. Ok maybe not exactly but it looked that way. Both of us unsure of what we just saw , we stood there,  frozen in time watching to see if ‘the rock’ would move again, our heads both cocked as we waited in anticipation taking a fresh look at this curious object.

It can’t always be easy for the turtle to venture out and push forward, just as it is never easy for people or business to take the steps necessary to break new trail.  But somebody has to lead; they always do, is that why cream always rises to the top?

If you treat each day like a milk run, routine in nature, you can find yourself at a stand still lacking creativity, energy, and the drive it takes to lead. It is safe to tread water and go with the flow, but true joy and gratification come from not just surviving but thriving.

Last year’s arena record is this year’s rookie’s template; the bar is continually being raised. Take the opening provided, like the coach who tells his team, “you can’t make baskets if you never shoot the ball.”

The opportunity on the horizon is- the best of you.  Keep taking steps, keep moving forward, take a fresh look at your surroundings, break trail just as the lead cows were doing this day and the turtle did as he made his way that sunny summer morning. Establish yourself as an expert in a distinct area. Focus on your strengths and do what it takes to keep yourself motivated and fresh, develop your talents, have faith in your ability to adapt and react. Be exceptional.

doWIT:

Lead the way, enjoy the view.

Keep Moving-take a fresh look, inspiration can come from anywhere

Keep Focused-Utilize you strengths and develop your talents

Be Exceptional- do what you do best!

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It becomes you, “Some of the best cowboys are cowgirls”

“Keep your eyes on the road,” talking, excited, in the moment, we hurried as we drove to make the rodeo.  I wasn’t expecting ‘it’ that day, like most things in life ‘it’ shows up when you least expect it. This was one of those moments in time that gets branded permanently into your memory and on your heart.

This defining moment happened some years back while sitting in the stands at an evening performance of a PRCA rodeo in Casper WY. I was waiting to watch my daughter Tiffany run barrels in the short round on Dreamer. Her first run was a good one and we had made the trip back and forth from the National High School Rodeo Finals in Gillette, WY where she had also qualified for the short round. This had been an amazing week.

I made my way to find a spot to sit at the end of the grandstands overlooking the contestants as they warmed up.  As an observer of people and trends this was a perfect opportunity and I began observing this “event” of core customers as my laboratory. Many WNFR competitors were there in attendance and an enthusiastic diverse crowd provided me a wide variety of observations.

A woman caught my eye. She was walking in front of the crowd, nicely dressed in black jeans, no belt, a cowboy hat, turquoise shirt. She was walking with an intermittent limp and steadied herself occasionally along the arena fence, something about her was familiar but I could not put my finger on it. I wondered who she was.

My attention went to the arena as they were finishing up the saddle bronc riding and had cleared the arena for intermission. Trick riders, 3 of them performed. Then I spotted her, Lori of Ram Rodeo. I had no idea she had this talent. This professional woman had been trick riding her whole life. She told me that trick riding was her release. It was awesome.She is in shape, an athlete, and having fun! I could not help myself and I stood up giving them a standing ovation, I was so impressed. I asked Lori if she had a picture of her trick riding and she sent me this image along with the rest of “the story.”

"Some of the best Cowboys are Cowgirls"

“This photo is from Okeechobee FL the last year it was held in the old arena. This was a huge outdoor pen where it took over 30 seconds to make a lap. I rode with John Harrison that year, I think it was 2002.

The horse is “Junior” aka Parker JR, he is a 1984 model. Mike and I got him when he was 6.  I didn’t start trick riding on him until he was 17. He was always my back up horse as well as Mike’s team roping horse until I lost my regular “Joker”. He was so fast and it took a lot to get my head in the game and not be scared.  He turned out to be fabulous – one of my top two horses in my lifetime.  I wish I had a whole herd of horses just like him.

Dally (Lori and Mike’s daughter) has been riding him since she was born and by herself since she was 3. She currently rides him in barrel racing and poles and is learning to trick ride at age 6 on him.” Lori Orman

Much to my delight the evening was not finished with surprises. I went on to watch my daughter compete in short round of barrel race, she made a great run but tipped a barrel to place. And the lady I had observed earlier in the evening walking along the fence had just entering the arena. Turns out (Ruth), a WNFR qualifier and was making a run that had the crowd behind her, she was a cowgirl, a legend in her own right.

That was “it,” once again I had to stand up and cheer, these three women were everyday heroes. On that day I had observed three great cowgirls who had my attention from the start, each from different generations, each at different times in the lives shooting for the stars while keeping their eyes on the road of their dreams, and each an inspiration to me.

That day I witnessed character, talent, spirit, courage, cowgirl. I knew it to be true, there was no doubt in my mind “some of the best cowboys are cowgirls!”

doWit: Harness- Ride- Rope- Be- “It”

  • Harness your passion
  • Ride your vision -till the horseshoes fall off
  • Rope yourself a great life
  • Be an Everyday Hero

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