Douglas Emerson Profitable Horseman
Profitable Horseman Newsletter 
June 12, 2009
  Change Is Uncomfortable

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"They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself." - Andy Warhol

Change doesn't come easily in the art business or the horse business; everyone is a critic. In an industry built on tradition, ideas for doing things differently take much effort to put into practice.

One of the reasons professional horsemen are reluctant to make changes in their businesses is that some changes just "don't feel right." They are uncomfortable and go against the grain of what we have become accustomed to and are comfortable with doing.

For example, as a youth I learned to ride in a western saddle. Over time, the contact points of my body with the saddle became my points of reference for posture and balance. It all "felt right" every time I sat in the saddle.

Later, my first experiences riding in an English hunt seat saddle made feel awkward, out of balance and generally uncomfortable. My traditional frame of reference had been altered and I was in the "uncomfortable zone". With practice, I managed to regain my composure and balance and the new saddle started feeling better every time I rode in it.

I have not ridden in a western saddle in a number of years and I know with such a long time away from it, riding in a western saddle would not feel "right" the first time I sat in it.

My point is familiarity creates comfort and the natural human tendency is to be comfortable. Being comfortable means trading off potentially better results for the privilege of being comfortable.

In your horse business do you:
  • Tolerate employees who don't have the skills to carry out the tasks required of them because they have been around a long time, are friendly with clients and have no other place to work?
  • Resist delegating business tasks like, filing, scheduling or bookkeeping because you have become comfortable with the notion that these activities are your job?
  • Avoid discussions with boarders about their horse's bad manners or their own unacceptable behavior at the farm?
Making a business decision to act on the types of things listed above is never easy. At first, moving from a comfort zone to potentially stressful situations might feel like you have put your boots on backwards just to make sure it will hurt.

But, you will soon find out that a better analogy is that changes in your business are more like sitting in a strange saddle for the first time. It feels uncomfortable, you're out of balance and have to question again why you are doing this.

Amazingly, in time, the deliberate business changes you make become as comfortable as your favorite saddle and will result in a much more comfortable ride.

Others Have Said 
"The key to success is for you to make a habit throughout your life of doing the things you fear." -- Vincent Van Gogh

"It's the place where my prediction from the sixties finally came true: "In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes." I'm bored with that line. I never use it anymore. My new line is, "In fifteen minutes everybody will be famous." -- Andy Warhol

"If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough." -- Mario Andretti


Have Voice, Will Travel.


There is no easy path to success in this business of horses.  Clients and audiences I've talked to have confirmed that reality many times.

I've been writing this newsletter about success in the business of horses since 2005.  It's brief and takes only a few minutes to read. That's because my intention is to provide an idea, ask a question or simply inspire you.

Some weeks I write them just for you; because you need to be reminded about something you've temporarily forgotten.
Other weeks, I write them just for your friends, your colleagues and competitors because they need a nudge, too. 
The responses I get from readers assure me that I'm helping and making a difference in their businesses.

This week, I'd like your help with my goal of helping 10,000 horsemen in the next ten years become profitable horsemen.  I'm looking for public speaking opportunities to associations, groups, councils and businesses to tell the story about success in the horse business.
Please contact me about your group's event, the subject and the possibilities.  E-mail me here or call me (716) 434-5371.

Back At The Barn
Just like many of you, the second thing I do each morning is start a pot of coffee.  The wake-up easily, bursting with energy gene did not find its way into my DNA.$ hat

Our son Will is a Starbucks employee and dutifully keeps the cupboard stocked with Starbucks brand coffee.

The other day I noticed the familiar packaging had changed.  Gone were the easy open taped flaps and attached twist tie for closing the bag. With time being of the essence, I ripped open the new bag and scooped the fresh coffee into the coffee maker.

Later, Will asked, "Dad, why did you rip open the bottom of the coffee bag?"

Now, I keep my spare pair of reading glasses next to the coffee maker.
I help professional horsemen and horsewomen struggling with the business half of the horse business. 

Not enough time, not enough money or not enough of the right people working for you?

Is your horse boarding business unprofitable?

Contact me to see if I can help. 

Until next time,

Doug Emerson
Profitable Horseman Deewochagall
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