Shelli Mader: Road to Ranching 10-17-11 | TheFencePost.com

Shelli Mader: Road to Ranching 10-17-11

Shelli Mader
Hays, Kan.

One winter when I was a kid, one of my grandpa’s cows died shortly after having her calf. He gave the little red heifer to my sister and me. We bottle fed Clover and she turned into a sweet little pot-bellied cow. She provided us with numerous calves over the years and gave us (along with my two brothers born after Clover) a start to our little cattle herd. Over the years we added a few more cows to our spread and enjoyed our calf crop each spring.

I look back at that great start to ranching and I wonder why I didn’t do anything productive with that calf money, especially when I was a teenager. My two brothers (one’s 20 and the other is 22) want to ranch too and are being wise about their calf check and are focused on using the money to help them start a place of their own.

I could probably write a book about the regrets I have (boy, are you beginning to think I’ve got a mental illness?) but I know that regret has done nothing but steal my joy and hope. Here are some tips I’ve learned about getting past those regrets.

Leave the Past in the Past

It’s a bit cliche, but you can’t move forward if you keep looking behind you. Learn to be honest with yourself and realize you can’t change past mistakes, hurts or missed opportunities. The best you can do is learn from the junk in your past and move on. Repeat to yourself often: pity parties are not productive!

Discipline Your Thoughts

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We may not have control over what thoughts pop into our heads, but we sure have control over how long they stay there. If you want to achieve a dream you have to learn to have a disciplined mind. It’s common sense, but negative, regret-filled thoughts won’t get you any closer to where you want to go. Controlling your thoughts is easier said than done (I’m preaching to myself here) but it’s so important.

Don’t Compare Yourself

There’s this girl I know (well, actually I just know of her) who is living my dream life. She ranches with her husband, has a successful work-at-home job and to top it all off she is in her early 20s instead of my (30 is approaching way too fast) late 20s.

Sometimes I can’t help but wish I was that girl. She seems to have life all together – doing all the things that I hoped to do in my life. The hardest part for me to swallow is the fact that she’s doing it all and is years younger than me!

Envying her life doesn’t do my life any good. When we start the whole “if only I was” conversation in our heads, we should stop and think about front porches – you know that place on your house that you like to keep visitors at when the inside of your house is a disaster! (I have totally been there!) Like our physical front porch we have an emotional one too. And unless you really get to know someone, all you ever see is the front porch of their life. We can make our lives look pretty darn good from the porch. Honestly, I don’t know what life is really like for that girl I have been envying. She could have more stress and heartache than I have ever had. Choose to focus on living your life and working with what you have.

I’m a firm believer that a lot of our battles are fought in our mind. Often we can’t change our circumstances, but if we can get past our regrets, we can focus on our dream and have a better chance of achieving it.

You can follow Shelli on her blog RoadToRanching.com.