By Kim Chappell
Want to have a life where you actually set goals and reach them? Want to make things happen which allow you to keep moving forward in your life as you achieve one goal after the other. Want to open doors that you never knew were available to you? Want to build a life of your choosing? If so, the key to your success is by developing a GREAT WORK ETHIC. Not just a good one, but a GREAT ONE.
Anyone who knows me, knows I love to work. I always have. Ever since I was a kid, I always sought out new opportunities by way of working for someone. Thus, I was very busy taking care of horses; painting fences; babysitting every weekend; working after school; and taking on new opportunities as they arose. I had drive, ambition and a desire to learn new things. When I was in college, I was always in the employment office looking at the job board. As a result I had some very interesting jobs that not only offered income but more importantly allowed me to build new skills, create contacts, and grow. Some jobs were fun, some jobs were boring, some jobs were monotonous, and some jobs were incredibly creative and rewarding. And one job was particularly disconcerting when I took care of a disabled woman’s horses and donkeys, only to see her out dancing one night! (But that’s a story for another time). The point is that every job I had, taught me something – something I would ultimately use when I became a business owner.
Fast forward to my current business where I teach kids leadership skills, life-skills, and the work ethic by way of working with horses and working on the ranch, and you will find Grace Pinto, a young 14 year old with a resume! Yup, you heard me right. A resume.
Grace showed up at the ranch as a 4 year old and has never looked back. She was a shy kid who had a cute habit of scrunching up her nose whenever she was nervous. Initially she had the tendency to let other kids go before her when we were doing our ranch chores BUT that changed as her confidence grew. Even at that young age, Grace had a desire to learn, and do, and learn some more. A trait I easily recognized. As Grace found her footing through the years, she also found her self and her calling. She embraced each task I set before her. And she did it with good cheer; was willing to learn and ask questions; she has perseverance and will not give up; she knows the importance of accountability and responsibility; and she completes her tasks with dedication and integrity. All of these life-skills are key factors to developing a GREAT WORK ETHIC (GWE). I could fill a book on what this kid has done in the years I’ve worked with her but her resume speaks for itself.
To date, Grace has worked with a local ranch who bring her on whenever they need an extra hand. She has been involved in branding and vaccination; helps with general ranch chores to include cleaning stalls, waters, bucking hay, feeding livestock, and most recently taking care of an orphaned calf. This one is a big deal in my book, because not only will she tend to the bottle feeding of this calf in these early weeks, but she will also need to let go when it is time for him to go back to the herd. The emotional component of all this ranch work is a real part of this life and it is something she and I have talked about through the years. It can sometimes be the hardest part! But, it is all part and parcel to this work we do.
Outside of ranch work she pet/house sits; does yard work; and learned how to demo and do a remodel with her dad, who said he would only hire her over anyone else because she sticks to her work.
Give this kid a job and she will not let you down. Her work ethic is stellar and because she sees work in the same vein that I do, she will be successful in life. Why? Because she’s willing to do the hard stuff; she’s willing to learn; she’s willing to make mistakes and use them as lessons for personal growth; she’s willing to listen; she knows how to be a team player; she approaches life with a strong attitude and good cheer; and she wants to direct her own ship and choose her own lifestyle. Mark my words when I say, Gracie will have her own ranch and run her own show one day. And I will be rooting for her all along the way!
From my interview with Grace:
How did Ranch School help you develop your work ethic? “Ranch School helped me develop my work ethic by helping me find my confidence. I learned how to take instruction and follow through with the job given. I was able to think through problems and solve them. And I was taught to never quit. Keep working until the job is done well. “
How did Ranch School help you get a job? “Ranch school helped me get jobs as neighbors and friends could see my confidence and ability to do the work.”
What life-skills do you use on your jobs? “I need to communicate well with the clients and to speak up if I have a question. Like one time I misplaced a key and had to let them know. Luckily I found it the next day. I have to remember to show up to care for the animals without my mom telling me.”
Would they rehire you? “Yes, everyone I have worked for has rehired me and some jobs have also opened doors for new opportunities. Ranches tend to help each other out, so the ranch I work for told another ranch about me, and that may lead to a new opportunity”.
Learning to have a GREAT work ethic is the golden ticket. What can you do to help your kids learn this vital life-skill? The time to start is now. As they say, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Kim Chappell, M.Ed., Instructor and Equine-Facilitated Life Coach. For further information on riding programs, Equine-facilitated life coaching, or The Original Horse & Farm Club for Kids, contact Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.chappellranchllc.com.
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