I finish shooting a round at trap, complete a horsemanship pattern, or say the last sentence of my speech – the same feeling overwhelms me at the conclusion of any task. Can I try that again? I reflect on how I did, analyzing myself. I instantly recognize the places where I could improve and have the strong desire to implement those changes immediately. Society tells us to not fret about the past because we can’t change it, so I tried to not think about my mistakes. But I couldn’t stop. After an Agriscience Fair presentation, I told my mom, “I feel really good about how it went; I just wish I could do it again so I could remember to talk about the article I read about glyphosate”. I proceeded to ask her why I always wanted to do things again. Her response was, “because, Christy, that means you care and you want to keep improving”. I realized that was true – it’s not that I did poorly, I simply wanted to grow.
Sometimes we are lucky enough to get another try. For many of us, state convention will be that second chance. Teams and individuals can use the mistakes made at district competitive events to excel at the state level. Oftentimes we feel the rush of winning a district competition and assume we can do the same again at state. But state is more difficult. It is different. We can’t simply repeat our prior performances and expect to get better results. We must have the desire to do better.
So, what is holding us back from becoming better? For me, it’s procrastination. I always knew I would need to study and practice to win state, but it was always difficult. There was never a quantified amount of time I needed to study, so I did more urgent tasks. Homework had to be turned in. Trap practice had to be attended. Chores had to be done. They weren’t necessarily more important, but they were more urgent. Soon enough, state convention would come and I would realize I hadn’t practiced. I would cram on the bus ride to Lincoln, but state champions aren’t created on a bus ride.
After majorly failing my first state competition, I decided I would work harder next year. To me, there was no point in competing if I wasn’t going to win. So, next year came around and the same feeling of procrastination appeared. But that year, I kicked procrastination out. I set deadlines for myself and gathered accountability partners to hold me to my goals. Every morning, I took a moment to envision myself holding an award on the big screen. It wasn’t magic. I didn’t immediately start winning that year, but it created an approach which helped me keep growing and getting better. Now, I can finish a task and feel confident I gave it my all. It feels good to look back and know I did everything I could. I challenge you to use your past experiences to drive your desire to do better. Set goals and deadlines to stop procrastination. Finally, finish and feel confident that you put in 100%. The only thing holding us back from success is ourselves!