Personal Growth

4 Success Traits I Learned While Shoveling Manure

October 23, 2012

If you had met me 5 years ago I would have probably shook your hand from high on the back of a sweaty horse. Or, greeted you while emptying a wheelbarrow of horse manure.

Me and Goose

My daily attire consisted of Carhartt overalls or riding breeches.  My life was horses. I eat, slept and breathed them.

I loved their passion, their wild need for life. The way they would shake off the halter when let out to pasture and run, kicking and squealing towards the freedom the open fields offered them.

They loved consistency and would stare me down and stomp their feet with impatience if their supper was served late.

They would greet me with welcoming whinnies every morning and I would hear their content sighs as I would tuck them in with a flake of hay and a full bucket of water each night.

In my years working with horses, I saw many different breeds and types. Short and tall fat and skinny. I saw some horses who were angry at the world. I saw horses who were scared or nervous. Some would chew at their stalls from anxiety or sway back and forth in their stall out of boredom. It was their way of checkin out.

Some were bullies, and some were wimps. Some were talkative, and some were quiet. Some were willing to learn, and some were not. Some embraced life, and some rejected it.

I learned a lot about horses and, in turn, I also learned a lot about people. Horses strangely resemble human beings in their habits and temperaments. Slowly, I began to see a consistent pattern imerge in horses which were successful. It was the same in people.

The horses who always got far were were those who had a certain eye. It was a big eye, dark and observant. It was full and wise, yet wild and passionate. It was present yet had a far off glaze to it.

These were the horses who went places. They worked hard and loved their jobs. They also loved their freedom.

They were passionate and yet calm. They were quick but didn’t spook easily. They were always ready to work almost begging to be ridden. They also loved their times of being out to pasture alone. It was as if they regrouped out there and came back clearheaded and ready to work.

These horses went far. They were truly great.

Thinking back, I see 4 common traits emerge.

1. The horse had guts and didn’t give up.

3. They wanted to, needed to, and loved working hard.

2. They thrived with consistent training and new challenges.

4. They had talent.

I now realize these are the same for people whom I have also seen go far in life.

There is only one difference. Most people think they need to start with number 4 first.

The horses I saw go the farthest were often not the ones with the most talent. They were the ones with the most heart. Their determination and willingness took them to the top and allowed their talent to truly shine.

It is the same with us. But, so many times we write ourselves off just because we view our work as not very valuable. Our talent level as below average.

There is a combination threaded into the lives off many of the greats. They had guts, drive, consistently learned, and then… they stumbled upon their talent.

Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success. ~Dale Carnegie

Question: How have you used passion, persistence and hard work in your own life?

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Ann Musico October 23, 2012 at 5:14 am

    I love your story Claudia!   This paragraph really speaks volumes:  “The horses I saw go the farthest were often not the ones with
    the most talent. They were the ones with the most heart. Their
    determination and willingness took them to the top and allowed their
    talent to truly shine.”

    I agree that it is so for people – most we hear about who really excel and go far and I can relate it to my kids.  I see those qualities in them – and it is definitely paying off and they are beginning to realize everything they are capable of.  It’s amazing.

    • Reply Claudia Good October 23, 2012 at 9:36 pm

      Thanks Ann,
      Wow, I’m sure it is so amazing to see that in your kids! Truly exciting 🙂

  • Reply Michael Wright October 27, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Persistance and hard work have gained me a good reputation in my current and past jobs.  Even doing work that was not full of Passion, I always tried to do my best and asked for more and new opportunities when they became available.   I always say I’m the one “dummy” out of ten that volunteers to help someone move from their house to another.  I’ve always thrown myself into projects and jobs that I didn’t even enjoy just because that’s an ethic I grew up with and want to continue.

    • Reply Claudia Good October 29, 2012 at 10:08 pm

      How has that worked for you Michael? Have you found you had more opportunities because of it?

      • Reply Michael Wright October 29, 2012 at 10:59 pm

         It’s worked out in my current job in that if new opportunities pop up, I often asked if I’m interested.  Sometimes I do say no, but it’s usually because travel is required and that is something I can’t budge on during this season.  Most recently at church, I’ve been asked if I was interested in taking on additional roles within our little group of volunteers.  I think it’s simply because I show up regularly and have a good attitude!

        • Reply Claudia Good October 30, 2012 at 7:59 pm

          That is great Michael! You have shown strength and reliability and indeed persistence and has paid off!

    Leave a Reply