What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. However, I can’t help but share my experience at the Mr. Olympia competition! Read why…
The sunshine, palm trees and ocean breeze welcomed me when I landed in Charleston, South Carolina. Mid-70s and the smell of seafood wafted through the air. In just one day, I would indulge in some authentic seafood. Until then, it was time to decide which type of fish to be.
Have you hear the analogy of being “a big fish in a small pond?”
This concept demonstrates that the fish has outgrown its habitat and environment. It could also be related to leadership and experiences. Have you become good enough in an area and are not surrounded with room to grow or develop further? Or is the talent pool around you less than or equal to your capabilities? I was disciplined and focused on this goal for just over a year in bodybuilding and felt confident and comfortable. Was I becoming a big fish in a small pond?
Among 700 athletes, I competed in my first national bodybuilding competition at the NPC Jr. USA Championship on May 21, 2016. I was out of my small Midwest area. I was no longer a “big fish”.
The Charleston Convention Center was filled with tanned muscles, energetic supporters and the opportunity to showcase success on a national stage. Show week, also known as “peak week”, I knew I had prepared the best I could. It was my time to shine. I had to bring my “big fish” mentality from rural Nebraska to a larger group of competitors. I got a cold-like sickness just a few days before leaving for South Carolina. However, I refused to get mopey or upset about it. Just focused on drinking water, resting (when I could) and getting mentally prepared for the large feat ahead. Just like a fish, hydration is necessary.
Saturday morning at 6 am, it was go time. I had seen some of the other athletes enter around the venue. Now, it was my time.
Spray tan, check.
Hair and makeup, check.
Food and flexing, check.
Emergency supplies, check.
Friends to witness, check!
I approached the preparation room. As I entered the back room of the auditorium, something obvious struck me. I was no longer a “big fish”.
I quickly became the small fish in a big pond. I was surrounded by athletes who had been challenging themselves, working their bodies and developing muscle for years. They had more “complete” physiques. They were more prepared. There was nothing I could do to change my stage compared to them. The main difference was amount of time dedicated to the sport.
What a humbling view. As I made my way backstage with a class of 28 other women, I felt confident, yet small. My moxie was in full effect, as it was for the other ladies. I left it all on the stage from comparisons to my individual presentation.
After prejudging, I text my coach. I knew I had not qualified for the top in the class. However, the small fish effect was rewarding.
|Individual presentation photos at the Jr. USA Show. I have come a long way but I’m not where I want to be yet!|
With any large goal, it often takes the little steps and actions to accomplish them. Patience, discipline and laser focus are three keys to achieving something as detail-oriented as bodybuilding. I am more driven after this show experience than ever before. I am planning a longer “off season” to increase healthy calories, put on some weight and build more muscle (all the carbs and all the gains!). I am now a little fish, but I cannot stop swimming.
|Chilling with the girls.|
Are you becoming a big fish in a little pond? How can you reverse this to learn more and surround yourself with folks better than you, more experienced than you and ultimately, people who will drive you to become better than ever before?
Lucky for me, I have a great coach, new friends in bodybuilding and current friends who are learning about my bodybuilding pursuits. I even spent a few days exploring Charleston and Atlanta, completing my first photo shoot and enjoying some sweets and wine along the way!
|Post-show dinner at The Pearl. Swordfish, asparagus and
|Photoshoot in Charleston!|
Take some time to identify one or two of your biggest goals. Are you a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond? Once you determine that, make a plan that will lead to your biggest potential. Don’t swim alone; the school of fish is waiting to help you (and that can include me if you like).
Friday afternoon, the sun was beaming down on the dirt track and green infield. Hooves stomped the ground in anticipation. The crisp March air blew through the nostrils of eager horses, ready to race.
Above the barns, people gathered with family and friends, food, drinks and track schedules in hand. The track was ready. Jockies were assembling their gear and horse owners chatted their predictions with loved ones about the anticipated results. Race day at Fonner Park would start at 3:30 p.m. and the excitement was about to begin.
I attended Fonner Park races three times in 2015. For my first race of 2016, one of my customers sponsored the winning blanket and reserved the executive suite for about 30 customers and friends to join. Not only was this a new experience for me, but my seed advisor Roger had also never experienced the suite. He is a part owner of a few mares with some of his customers, so he has attended many races. This race was one for the books.
Roger’s horse would race in the 9th and final race that day. Odds were decent for her to place. But she was not necessarily expected to win. Nonetheless, the rounds went on, beverages and food were flowing and conversation was plentiful. There were still many reasons to have fun and make a win out of the day.
When odds are against you, you must face adversity to have the chance to succeed.
The rounds of races led to many bets placed, horses favored and disparity among selections. This was not just a discussion about the horses. It developed into more conversations about agriculture. Many farmers are feeling a negative, depressed attitude with the low market conditions. I had to help encourage them through what they can control, what changes and positive variables have taken affect and overall, that sometimes, we have to face adversity to overcome it.
Demonstrate to others you can have fun among competition and not just talk business.
The conversations continued and I discovered that not all the spectators in the executive suite were currently using our products. The growers who did not currently plant Syngenta seed put a little bit of pressure on me regarding current market conditions, performance and future developments in our portfolio. Some of these moments were great to dive in to the futurist outlook of Syngenta. It also granted me a chance to ask these growers questions about needs on their farms. We had to agree to disagree a few times. However, we enjoyed the remaining races together, building a better relationship in the process.
When the tough race is over, the winners’ circle is much more gratifying.
Not only are growers experiencing a tough year, but also are my seed advisors. They have seen much pressure from their customers, from me, and from others to do better and become better. Just like in horse racing, at some point, if you drive the horse too hard, it will run out of steam. I am working to better balance giving my customers [and myself] some slack on the reins and knowing went to drive hard or hold off. When you rush around the last curve, the finish line will become worth it after pushing hard for the win.
When we got to race 9, I finally placed my bet. Five dollars, on the head, horse “Who is Lido”. Our group went down to the ground level to watch the race. Whichever horse wins, we would get to stand with the horse and jockey for a picture as the blanket sponsor.
The bell rang and the horses sprang from the gates. “Who is Lido” was pacing in third. About halfway through, her jockey pushed her a bit harder and she quickened. Around the last corner, she took the lead, held it, and pulled away for the finish line!
The excitement spread like a flood among Roger’s crew. The look of pure joy spread across his face and in the moment, I saw a tremendous pride radiant from him. In that moment, I understood what it meant to have fun winning.
We got our photo taken, they announced over the loud speaker, “Sponsored by Roger Morse, Morse Seed, who has been a Golden Harvest dealer for over 25 years.” His long tenure with the seed business not only reflects commitment to his customers, including ones who attended the race. It also reminded me that it takes time to see results. To get the best results, you need to make time for fun, see value from the process and enjoy victory at the end.
It never hurts to make profit at the end of the day either. 🙂