Monday, April 21, 2008

Career Driven

Good news, my ovary appears to be intact and the bruise is about gone. I've never had a bruise that left behind a big lump, though—my ovary, perhaps?

I've been under the weather this weekend—nothing major, just a scratchy sore throat and a bit more urge to sleep than usual. So I rested. If "resting" can be defined as sitting at the computer researching towing vehicles on, and

Yes, that's right, I'm car shopping. Er, TRUCK shopping.

Yes, I know I might sound a bit wishy-washy... because I've been talking about music for so long that it might come as a surprise to know that I've made a different decision about my career options. Don't get me wrong—I still enjoy composing music for myself, but... when I think about hitting the road with a bunch of guys (or solo), playing in bars, and the whole industry thing, I get SO tired. What a difference from 20 years ago—just seeing a tour bus or smelling bus exhaust got me all hot n' bothered because it represented ROCK N ROLL to me. I don't have the travelin' jones anymore.

But when the sun sets on a warm spring day, or even a cold fall day, and the horses are safely brought in from the pasture, everyone's tucked into their grain, and I've finished my barn chores for the day, I'm a bit sad to leave. If the day included horseplay, or better yet, some riding, my reluctance to return to "civilization" is even greater. The smell of the barn is intoxicating to me. Communicating with horses is the most amazing thing I've ever learned how to do.

I know it's a long shot. I know it'll take a big chunk of cash and time to get there. I know there's a chance I might not have what it takes to do this. But I've got to do it.

I'm going for it. I'm aiming for Parelli Licensed Professional.

There's no reason I can't keep up with the music as well; technology and online sales make all kinds of things possible. I just have no interest in being a "rock star" anymore.

I'd rather be a Horse Developer than an Instructor (of people) but they allow people to do both, and Instructing is a bit more lucrative than teaching horses.

See, I've been listening to The Clearing Audio every night for a month now—it has affirmations intended to clear your limiting beliefs and let me tell you, IT WORKS. I'm feeling much more peaceful, motivated, and alive than I ever have. (Faith has something to do with that, too, I'm sure). One of the affirmations Joe Vitale says is this:
"Don't ask yourself what the World needs—ask yourself what makes YOU come alive, and then go do that—because what the World needs is people who have come alive."
Well. I really enjoy music, knitting, weaving, spinning, sewing, watching TV, reading, writing, blogging, and having dinner with friends.

But what REALLY makes me come alive is being with horses. Playing with them. Riding them. Communicating with them. Understanding them. THAT is what makes me come alive. I am a different person when I'm with the horses. Even more "present" than I ever was on stage.

Besides, the music career I once had prepared me for this. Being a PNH Professional means being comfortable as the one in the spotlight, whether teaching or as a member of the Savvy Team on the tour events. (Yes, there is still a touring possibility in there.) There are a lot of performance elements to this. Quite often, Pat Parelli's students go on the road and, for lack of a better word, "perform" with their horses in front of large audiences to music. They teach good-sized classes (6-20). I needed those skills.

As for the music, if I were lucky enough to be selected for a tour, I believe I can choose my own music. They do encourage original artists—there are about three or four who are students and musicians that Pat & Linda have endorsed because they write horse-related songs—Mary Ann Kennedy, Katie Drake, to name a couple. I'm sure they'd be fine if I wrote my OWN music to perform to, instrumental or otherwise. I write horse songs.

But mostly, it's about understanding the horse, and helping horses solve their people problems. It's revolutionizing the horse industry. I love being a part of it.

So I'm on the path. The path to Parelli 3-star Instructor is as follows:
  • Progress through the three home-study levels (with excellence if you can)
  • Assess and officially pass all three
  • Do the six-week Intensive (Liberty & Horse Behavior, Fluidity 1 & 2 Riding) at the Parelli Center
  • Get accepted into the Professionals Program
From there, I can go the Standard route:
  • Do 14 weeks at the Parelli Center—4-week boot camp and 10 weeks of education
  • Become a 1-Star trainee
  • Spend the next year practicing (no pay—meaning, in addition to a j-o-b)
  • Do 10 weeks of education
  • Become a 2-Star trainee
  • Spend the next year doing small clinics (up to 6 students) teaching L1 & L2/assessing L1 (for pay)
  • Do 10 weeks of education
  • Become a 3-Star Instructor (I have three years to get there once I'm a 1-Star)
  • Spend the next however many years doing standard-sized clinics (up to 10 students), teaching L1 - L3/assessing L1 & L2 (actually employed now), teaching at the Parelli Centers
  • If I'm really motivated, I might move up to 4-Star—only the most beloved instructors get there, and they have to have been a full-time 3-Star for six years. Four Star Instructors teach/assess all three levels plus have some administrative duties
  • If I am REALLY LUCKY, I might be invited to be a 5-Star Instructor. But there are only FIVE of those in the WORLD. One has to be a 4-Star for eight years before even being considered. (This is considered "dreaming", LOL!)
Or, if invited, the Accelerated route, which is teaching and studying for three years straight on the faculty at the Parelli Centers.

To get and maintain Star Ratings, I'll have to do a lot of stuff: teaching, developing horses, taking courses myself, attending every yearly Savvy Conference in Colorado, being at the tour events, studying business and personal development (like the LOA!) and so on. It's HUGE. It's not easy. It's an enormous commitment. It's scary as hell. My plan includes getting a 14-month MBA (optional) because it could give me the edge over candidates without one.

Right now, I'm Official L1 (note that's LEVEL one, which is different from 1-STAR), studying L2, with a L1 Advancing horse. My plan is to spend this summer on L2, pass it, and get into L3 before the weather changes. This means attending clinics. Then go to Ocala for the six weeks next spring with my horse. Apply to grad school (if it still feels like a necessary option)—starts in June 2009, ends in August 2010. Work on L3 meanwhile. Graduate, then pass L3. Apply to the program for 2011.

Wow. I just realized... if I get in the program in 2011, then it's three years to 3-Star, plus six years to 4-Star, plus eight years to 5-Star, means... IF I made it that far... I would reach 5-Star status in 2027. At the age of 64.

Holy Moses.

Of course, I'd be happy just to reach 3-Star Instructor... and 3- or 4-Star in the Horse Development Modules.

So anyway, the truck.

It is possible to play in your own backyard and successfully pass the levels. But it helps considerably if one attends and rides in PNH clinics where an Instructor with a keen eye can observe you and point out what you can do better and help with issues. Cheerios and I have a few issues. So I want to attend clinics. We're signed up for one next month, around the corner from our old barn. The current barn manager is trailering him for me. But I can't ask her to trailer me all summer—she has horse shows of her own to do. So I need a rig of my own. I already "have" the trailer—the barn manager is selling her smallest one and I claimed it, just waiting for the estate to close to pay her. (She's holding it for me. She knows I'm good for it.)

Now all I need is the truck to pull it. The Buick Regal LS, aka the Mothership, is probably going to be traded in. I'm going used. I've looked at new, but after doing my research, leasing is out of the question (for me); buying new and financing is too scary when I have so many changes happening and not a lot of "time" for jobs in between career preparation; I probably could drop $30k on a new one paid in full and drive it off the lot, but... uh, that might impinge on my ability to move forward with my other plans (barring a winning lottery ticket), so... used it is. It'll be a trade-in plus cash and drive it off the lot paid for deal.

Surprisingly, there ARE a lot of nice trucks out there for reasonable prices. I've test-driven a bunch. Though I went into it a Dodge Ram fan, I've driven more F-150s. That's either a good sign, because they were leases or trade-ins on new (loyalty), or a bad sign (people getting rid of their Fords but keeping their Dodges). I'm not in love with any of them—one F-150 is pretty much the same as any other but for year and color. I really like that Pueblo Gold champagne color but the used ones tend toward white, burgundy or green. I can deal. If this PNH thing takes off, in a few years I'll upgrade to a 3/4 ton to pull a gooseneck trailer and maybe then I can pick a color.

So, I'm truck shopping. Wish me luck.

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At 3:42 PM, April 22, 2008, Blogger Karen said...

Good luck, Jeanne! What an amazing plan.

At 3:53 PM, April 22, 2008, Blogger Sheepish Annie said...

Life takes us on a lot of different paths. That's what makes it so interesting. I'd say this path sounds like a good one!

Good luck with the truck-buying! Having just had to go through a speed-round of vehicle purchasing thanks to the death of my own truck, I know how much work it is.

At 7:16 PM, April 22, 2008, Anonymous tiennie said...

Good for you for mapping out your path! Good luck!


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