Cowgirl Communications
by Katie Dressler
Chief Officer of Member Engagement
7/11/2018

Lessons I learned this past week include:

1. Roping Doesn’t Change.

2. Barrel Racing Doesn’t Change.

3. No matter if I’m in the practice pen, amateur rodeo, or big-time rodeo, it’s still me, my horse and the barrel or steer.

4. At the end of the day, your commitment and attitude defines your run.
 

Pretty simple, right? Some might think we rodeo people are crazy. We get up at 4 a.m. on the hottest day of the year when most others are enjoying a day by the lake, to feed, catch and load our horses into the trailer. We drive three hours to a rodeo, only to compete for a matter of seconds. We then take care of our animals, making sure they are fed and have water, long before we ever eat. We love what we do, which means we spend hours and hours practicing trying to get better. We do it not just to win, but because there is that passion and love for it, and for our horse. We are committed to the lifestyle.

Commitment and loyalty are words we often associate with relationships and love, and rodeo in my case, rightfully so. But commitment in the workplace is also something to take note of. True job commitment is a quality that most employers appreciate and reward. It’s no secret that true commitment is a key component to success. No, it’s never easy, but once you work out a few kinks, you can often look forward to reaping the benefits of a productive, happy and fulfilling partnership with your job for years to come. So how exactly do you show your commitment and loyalty to something, like we rodeo people show to our horses?

Be a Team Player. We’ve all heard the saying “There’s no ‘I’ in team.” On the Dressler Ranch, we have several families that work collectively together, to move cows, brand cattle, put up hay, and all the other duties that come with running a ranch. It’s proven to me time and time again when I go home, the importance of teamwork and knowing we can fall on each other when we need help. If we work together as a team, and communicate effectively, the jobs on the ranch are done successfully. Being able to contribute to any group task shows commitment to your work team and overall to your job. Exemplifying confidence in your skills, ideas and solutions is a trait that employers value. Dedicated and committed workers know that success is a group effort, in that it’s everyone’s responsibility to contribute his/her own strengths and support colleagues’ weaknesses, which will ensure a strong, winning dynamic team. As Vince Lombardi once said “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” 

Professional Development. As I said in an article very recently, I knew if I wanted to be committed to my horse and barrel racing, I needed to look for ways to develop my skills, so I signed up for a barrel clinic last month. Many of us can attest to knowing an employee at our credit union who has been with the company for more than 20 years. How did they get to where they are today? They were not only loyal to the company, but committed to growing their knowledge both personally and professionally. Commitment is the glue that bonds you to your goals. If you want to successfully grow your knowledge, you must have commitment to making those goals happen. Pursue local professional clubs in your community to find out what might suit your needs best or talk to your employer about online training opportunities. These are key indicators you’re interested in devoting your time to your company.

Put Feedback into Action. Pat Summitt, legendary Tennessee basketball coach once said, “Admit to and make yourself accountable for mistakes. How can you improve if you’re never wrong?” No one is perfect and yes, we all make mistakes. With those mistakes, comes constructive feedback from our coworkers, friends, family and others. Wanting to constantly improve and put feedback into action is one of the best ways to show you’re committed to your job, committed to improving and exceeding expectations. 

Anticipate Your Company Needs. At the clinic I recently went to, the instructor noted that we should anticipate our horse’s next move. The same can be true when you’re committed to your company. Being on top of what’s to come and looking forward to projects is a clear way to show your loyalty and commitment. Taking time to use critical thinking skills to analyze your performance, will aid in understanding where you can help with your current company needs. Planning ahead and looking for ways to improve procedures, projects and better build your relationships with your members are all ways to show your commitment. And, don’t forget, saying “I’ve actually started on that already” can be music to your boss’s ears.

Never Give Up. There’s no doubt, life has its ups and downs, whether that be in barrel racing or at your office. Sure, the grass may seem greener on the other side some days, but most loyal employees will struggle through brief rough patches because they believe in their company and are willing to push past the bad times. It goes without saying, employees who are committed to their jobs don’t quit easily. There are days when I might hang my head, wondering, how can I keep racing if I don’t win? But, I’m constantly reminded by family, my fiancé, and travel partners that if I want to see the positive results, I must not give up or lose faith, but instead keep persevering. Keeping yourself and your employees positive and motivated is a winning combination in defeating challenges and the high demands of your business. In addition, showing your employees gratitude, respect and praise after they do continue through a difficult time, is also a way to keep them loyal to your company. 

As American author Kenneth Blanchard once said, “There’s a difference between interest and commitment.” He continues, “When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.”

When it comes to commitments, there are no grey areas. You’re either committed or you aren’t. Commitments are serious business that take both time and energy. If you’re feeling at the end of your rope, or having a bad day, remember it’s just you and that project or hill you have to climb. Stay focused. Stay committed and stay positive. These are highly valued and needed skills not only the workplace, but in all aspects of your life. Finally, remember to surround yourself with positive, loyal people who will help push you to stay committed to your goals and keep that fire in your soul burning.

You can contact Katie at kdressler@cuad.coop.

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