POSTED BY: Katie Ittenbach | July 18, 2019
It’s probably one of my secret guilty pleasures. Picture this: I’m dressed in full-on corporate attire (stilettos and all) and sitting in the most pristine of board rooms when my client asks, “Do anything fun this weekend?”. Ohhhh buddy. You have no idea…
“Well…”, I start, “I helped one of my cows in labor at 3:00 a.m. this morning. So that was fun”.
The look on their face is priceless. Not necessarily because birthing a cow is strange, but more so because I don’t fit the profile of how I show up when the work “game-face” is on. You can immediately see the back peddling of the likely assumption that I was a city girl working the corporate job and the wonderment of how in the heck I am pulling calves in the wee hours of the morning and then sitting in front of them for a presentation of complex reporting and analytics.
Lesson learned. Never judge a book by the cover. But if you are victim to this, have some fun shocking the heck out of people.
In truth, my passion is, and has always been, working with animals. I fell in love with horses before I could remember and have lived on a ranch most of my life. Today, I share a 60-acre family compound with horses and cattle. Every day is a new adventure. With animals, there is always something going wrong. But the reward is huge.
If anyone really knows me, they also know that I have a pet cow. Yes, you read that right, a pet cow (a steer, for everyone out there that knows cattle). I saved him when he was a newborn calf and his mom abandoned him immediately because he couldn’t stand up. I bottle fed him and kept him in the garage (even made his way to the kitchen a time or two when it was cold). What happens when you raise a calf that stays in the garage? That calf doesn’t know they’re a calf. I call him my half-ton black lab. His name is Bucky and he is every kid’s favorite.
All of this information actually does lead to a point, I promise. I’m often told “I don’t know how you do it”. Which I always find amazing, particularly coming from working moms, because sister, I don’t know how YOU do it. But that’s another blog post. It’s about setting goals, some easily obtainable and some overly audacious, for yourself and making time for what sets your heart on fire. The ranch. The animals. They keep me going when the stress of owning and running your own company become too much. Everyone needs an outlet and those outlets are worth the effort and dedication to maintain. To preserve.
My day starts somewhere around 5:00 a.m., depending on how many snooze buttons I can get away with. That time allows me to feed livestock before work and still make it into my office by 7:00 a.m. to cherish those two hours of quiet productivity before the rest of the world starts. And yes, it often ends after dark because that is the only time I can find after “the dust settles” to get those round bales in the fields. But after the 12-hour workdays that end with more ranch work at home, it makes me a better person and a better leader. Balance is key no matter where you find it. It’s not that you don’t have enough time, rather how you choose to use your time and prioritize what really drives you. It’s plenty okay if your day doesn’t look like everyone else’s. It’s more than okay that you NEVER know what the latest TV show is because you haven’t turned your TV on in over a week. The most important question one can ask is; are you doing “you” and does that make you happy?
What are you hiding behind your “game-face” that keeps you ticking?