Good horsemanship is built on solid basics…so is good business!

Posted by Lisa Derby Oden
Lisa Derby Oden
I've been fortunate to be involved with horses throughout my life... so far that
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on Wednesday, 26 March 2014
in Penniless Philanthropy

What's Stopping You? by Stacey Sheley

Stacey Sheley shares her trials and tribulations in a very inspiring and motivating way. Thanks for sharing Stacey - glad you are a Penniless Philanthropy partner!


My journey began in 2009 to start an equine therapy business. I had $1000, a website, genius writing skill, a bit of a business plan, grit up the wazoo, no clients, no horses, no facility, no backing financial or otherwise.


I came across Lisa Derby Oden’s offer of Penniless Philanthropy and was stoked. She helped me modify and refine my business plan, gave me a lot to think about and work on. In return I was to seek out some other person to help in a pay it forward manor.


While working with the business plan my own doors began to open. My horse returned from her lease and an off track thoroughbred a beautiful stubborn mustang mare came into my life. I was boarding and giving lessons at a great facility in a great location. A young lady came to me asking for help starting her equine massage business. She just wanted to be around the horses and practice on mine until she got going.


Fantastic, here is my Penniless Philanthropy person! I love the pay it forward idea. It is a fantastic and loving gentle way to help someone. Me being an optimist I naively thought, “Who wouldn’t want this?” Well, it turns out that a lot of people don’t want this. They know they need this but the heartbreaking thing is that four-letter word: fear.


Since meeting the equine massage therapist I have: acquired the facility I was boarding at; begun boarding horses; a successful riding program; a tough former marine riding my OTTB for 3-day eventing who trains with a local trainer (who qualified for the 2000 Olympics); a slew of awesome volunteers who share my vision; gotten my EAGALA certification for equine therapy; found my psychotherapist partner; acquired 13 of my own horses; a waiting list for boarding; requests for public speaking (which I found love doing); and so very much more. What I seem to lack is my penniless philanthropy person.


In the last several years I have always kept my promise to Lisa to continue the Penniless Philanthropy in my mind. I am to pass the gift forward to someone else who will continue this amazing gift of success and then they are to pass the gift on again. Time and again there have been people drawn to Open Door Equine who are searching for that very thing and time and again, the torch was been dropped. Why in the last several years has it been so hard to find someone who wants to carry this torch forward? This is such a fantastic thing. I didn’t understand it.


I have this “friend”. Serendipity. I love serendipity. She shows me where I am needed and I whole-heartedly follow her everywhere. One very cold afternoon I met with a woman who had recently started her solo psychotherapy practice. She believes in alternative therapies for her clients and incorporates other therapies such as massage and Reiki into their treatment. We were introduced through a mutual client. When she came out to the barn the intent was to explore adding Open Door Equine to her list of non-mainstream therapy for her office setting clients. I wanted to impress her with my facility, get to know her and see if we wanted to do business together.


This woman is a strong woman, successful already, filled with an inner brave that I have not often seen. I instantly connected with her. I knew I wanted to work with her right away. While talking about the partnership she admitted that she had a backer with deep pockets that she was to meet with a lawyer to hammer out details of a partnership with this person as somewhat of a silent partner to grow her idea of a whole therapy facility. She told me that she canceled this meeting. I was shocked so I asked her “Why on Earth would you cancel that meeting?” She warmly, openly and almost in tears, looked me in the eye and simply said, “I’m afraid. I’m afraid of success.”


It all hit me like a ton of bricks. I was shaking, not just from the cold but from the realization of all the people I have met and wanted to help but who wouldn’t let me. Whoa, this was huge, this was serendipity again, this was another opportunity moment, and this was a turning point. I told myself, “Here it is, this is why and she is your torch bearer!”


I paused, took a deep breath and with the same intention and intensity, looked her deeply in the eye and said, “One fork full at a time.” I then told her about what I started with, how on the days when I felt it was impossible that I did just one thing to make progress, how on some days it seemed like I had one step back. I told her that a step back day isn’t the end because you have those days which are 3 steps forward and that is still progress. That progress, even if it is a small thing like paying just one bill, making just one call, writing just one email, even if it leads to a dead end shows the universe that you are still seeking and the universe will repay your efforts tenfold.


Dream big because it is worth it. You are who you are for a reason; your dreams are yours because you are able to carry them to fruition. It is your duty, your purpose to grow them in your garden of hope because that is why you are here. You not only owe it to yourself but to the world. Next you must take action however small it may be.


After meeting with the therapist she sent me an email saying that she took my advise and started looking at her big idea in little steps and that seeing it from that perspective changed her outlook from a fear perspective to a process perspective. She now has more clients coming to her and is also referring some of them to me.


What happened here is a simple point of view shift. Opportunity will seek you, you have to recognize it, grab it and run with it. Serendipity, opportunity, point of view are all means to your journey. Fear is not an ally. Changing your point of view from fear-based into opportunity-based is key and pivotal. Point of view is the element that will hinge your success and boost you on days when it seems tough. You will have tough days but those days show you where to go next even if it seems like your options are few. It is showing you the hard line to your next opportunity. Those days are the ones where the universe is saying “NO! Look HERE.” On these days you are to look at the options in front of you and whisper “Show me.” Be open to the path. Follow it. These are the easy days. These are the ones where your path is clearly obvious. That specific bill that is nagging you the hardest, pay it. The money will come to you for the other things you need. That one hard client that has made you miserable, drop them, they are sucking your energy dry, 3 better ones are coming. The situation that isn’t working, change it, the next one will work.


Do not fear these days for they are your opportunity to grow. You grow emotionally, financially, your business will get bigger, you will learn more, you will become stronger, you will know that you are more powerful than you expected and you must follow through for you will lead others who are your equals through their doldrums. When one succeeds we all succeed. This is no place for fear. Fear will hold you back, make you miserable, loose your clients, loose future clients and loose connections to opportunities you haven’t imaged yet. All you need is a shift of point of view then watch your endeavors work their magic. If you are reading this then you already know you are a leader. Don’t leave those who need you behind. Grab your reins of opportunity and lead on.


When I started Open Door Equine I literally had nothing to lose. I used that gift to carry on into what should have been the scariest thing I’ve ever done. However, because I had the gift of “nothing to loose” I simply and fearlessly carried on, one step at a time. I had just gotten divorced, I had no money, no job, my daughter was 6 years old at the time, we were living in my little brother’s guest bedroom in a new city. Now I am my own boss, I have my barn, my horses, my hay field, my practice, my own house, my supportive volunteers and opportunity abounds. I could do it, so can you. A simple shift in perspective is all you need.


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About the author

Lisa Derby Oden

I've been fortunate to be involved with horses throughout my life... so far that is! Early in my career I owned and operated Derby Farm, a riding stable in Buxton, Maine. I have also worked as a freelance riding instructor and bring all this practical experience to my consulting work. Blue Ribbon Consulting focuses on business and nonprofit development in the equine industry. I provide evaluation, planning, research, marketing and problem-solving services to take you successfully through all your horse business transitions. I've worked with clients around the world, and have received state and national honors for my work in the equine industry. Since I love this industry and believe in it, I've also been a nonprofit founder, board member, and executive officer for local, state and national organizations. I've worked with nonprofits in strategic planning, program development, corporate development, fundraising, grant writing and grant administration. Part of this wonderful journey has also allowed me to serve as adjunct faculty and guest lecturer at several universities, and to deliver business development, marketing, and leadership seminars throughout the United States. I also developed and oversaw the Entrepreneurs Resource Center for a community college. I've published two books, have been a columnist and freelance writer for many trade publications, and am a partner in the CD series “Inventing Your Horse Career.”


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