It is always a good thing to get out and network. For business owners and entrepreneurs, that might take the form of leaving your desk, your social media channels, or your content creation, so that you can attend a seminar, a conference or other live event. For researchers, it might mean getting away from the lab or computer and participating in a conference or volunteering for an outreach activity. Changing your venue on occasion can be so valuable to the creative process.
In March 2016, I took a few days to attend Road to the Horse at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky. It’s a colt starting event and competition between three internationally-known horse trainers. The competitors in 2016 were: Nick Dowers, winner of the event (check out the video on his home page!), Richard Winters (another home page video worth watching!), and Clinton Anderson.
I made a point to meet and shake hands with the trainers, as well as with the youth participants, with other spectators, with vendors, and with the horse breeders from the Four Sixes Ranch which had brought the unhandled, 3-year-old Quarter Horses in for the event. (See the three trainers at work during the competition in the videos on my Facebook page: http://www.fb.com/vjmaris)
Networking | Making Connections
In the process of meeting people at Road to the Horse, I met world-renown trainer, Dan James, from Australia, and found out he shares my love of Connemara ponies. He had been a trainer for my late friend, Sue Clarke, who bred Connemara ponies in Australia. She had been for a visit to my farm in Indiana several years ago. Dan and I reminisced about our favorite Connemaras and the characteristics of the breed.
Stepping away from my day-to-day world at Purdue and into this different venue has already provided me with an idea I shared during a strategic planning session in the week following my return, and it inspired a message I delivered from our farm on a Periscope broadcast about attending live events in your niche to get inspired.
The take-away I hope you get from this post is to change your venue every now and then, as well as to interact with your peers and mentors outside of your normal routine. You never know what it might bring to your career or who you could add to your network by making the effort to connect.
If you’d like to see my new friend, Dan, and his business partner, Dan Steers, in their appearance in Australia’s Got Talent (with two of their horses on the stage), check this YouTube video out. They are amazing! https://youtu.be/cWlFFGhmaGM Or you can visit their website to learn more about their horse training: http://doubledanhorsemanship.com/
Vickie Maris is an online course designer, instructor, podcaster, and coach. She is also a university administrator and program designer. In her eclectic life, she plays acoustic guitar and piano accordion, is a singer/songwriter, and performs in the band Scott Greeson and Trouble With Monday. She and her hubby, Scott Greeson, live on a hobby farm in Indiana with llamas, rabbits, a Jack Russell Terrier, Connemara pony and one, in-charge, cat. Vickie also has an Etsy shop in which she sells llama roving, yarn and Angora rabbit fluff.