PIPER KLEMM, PH.D
Like most people in our industry—and most people who travel—I talk a lot. I talk to my team (on my hands-free device) while traveling long distances. I chat in person and text during long walks from ring to ring, and I’m starting to resume sitting down for good dinners with great friends.
I love to talk about business, competition, directions of the sport, and what we will leave behind. It was in one of these conversations that I was discussing with a friend how publications can serve the industry better.
“What people really miss when they evaluate you,” she told me, “is how much you love this. You could do anything, you could walk away seven days a week and use any other part of your brain and do something else. But you wake up and you want to do this. You’re having fun and will keep doing this as long as you’re having fun. People can’t compete with you when you just wake up and pursue what you’re interested in.”
I thought that was such an interesting perspective. Yes, I do love what I do. I’m hard to catch because I’m not ever sure what I’m going to work on tomorrow. I listen and think and plan and backtrack and react to what is going on. I genuinely enjoy engaging with the people who choose to devote their life to every aspect of this sport.
How do you compete with genuine interest and enthrallment? Well, to some extent, you can’t. That’s what people mean when they say to do what you love. Not that it won’t be hard. Not that it won’t be intense. Not that it won’t be scary. Not that people won’t yell at you. Doing what you love means you genuinely want to be part of showing up, day after day, decade after decade. You put yourself out there in an effort to bring excellence into an arena.
There is a lot of negativity in this world and it’s easy to get negative about this business and about life. There are always mountains to climb before the next rest, and we’re all tired and want more. But those who really thrive in our sport, no matter what they may lack in talent, money, or time, are the ones who are truly enthralled with the process. Those people are the ones who make it. Those who plan and also pivot, the master planners and the master improvisers, the ones who just plain love the game—they’re not competing against you. They’re vying against the toughest competition in the world. They … we … are competing against ourselves.
*This story was originally published in the April 2021 issue of The Plaid Horse. Click here to read it now and subscribe for issues delivered straight to your door!