Every year the Appaloosa Horse Club of America puts on a 100-mile horse trek. I just completed the first leg and it was my first time. What an adventure! And what a lesson in leadership!

When all the riders got on their horses on day one, there was much excitement, fear, nervousness and anxiety. After all, we were going to ride 20 miles that day, through uncharted country.

Some people nervously got up and got on. Their horse prancing and circling, upsetting those around them and getting agitated as we waited for the start.

Some were completely unprepared for the journey, and it showed. Their equipment was loose or falling off, their horses were out of shape and ungroomed.

Some, regardless of who was around them had a quiet confidence and seemed to exude an energy of calmness that helped their mount and others relax.

And I thought, “That’s who I want to be. That calm, collected and prepared leader.” So I followed them, and my ride was outstanding. Not only that day, but all five days of this amazing adventure. 

"Before going into any situation, meeting, call, buying trip, whatever, take a moment and ask: Who do I want to be in this?”

The others? I think they had the ride they set themselves up for, and here is the secret I’m sharing with you. 

If only they had asked themselves prior to going: Who do I want to be in this situation? 

You can do this for your pet business when dealing with customers — especially unhappy ones — prior to meetings with suppliers and before any live event or expo. 

The answer you come up with will determine your outcome because you have control of who you will be, regardless of how others choose to be or react.

This is how you create an exceptional experience. Before going into any situation, meeting, call, buying trip, whatever, take a moment and ask: Who do I want to be in this?

If you want success, you’ll lead yourself in this way more and more, others will gravitate to you in abundance, and the ride we call business will be exceptional every time.

Shawna Schuh  is a certified speaking professional, an executive coach, master neuro linguistic programming practitioner and president of Women in the Pet Industry Network. Email her at shawna@womeninthepetindustry.com.


This article originally appeared in the September-October 2017 edition of PETS+.