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Not making the Southern Rodeo Association finals turned out to be a big blessing. I found myself at the National Barrel Horse Association Open World Championship, where “H2” and I won the Sweepstakes, the first round, the fastest-time buckle and the finals. Photo by Tammy Sronce.

Turning Setbacks into Blessings

The ability to create new goals out of setbacks and keeping a small circle of your strongest supporters is important for success inside the arena and happiness outside the arena.

By McKenzie Morgan, age 16, originally published in the January 2019 issue of Barrel Horse News

If There’s a Will, There’s a Way

In my December 2018 column, we talked about the Southern Rodeo Association and how I was one hole out of making it to the finals. Not making the SRA finals turned out to be a big blessing. I found myself at the National Barrel Horse Association Open World Championship, where H2 and I won the Sweepstakes, the first round, the fastest-time buckle, and the finals. I brought home around $20,000, which is more than I could have won at the SRA finals. I’ve always said if there’s a will, there’s a way.

We set goals for ourselves and often forget about all the other opportunities we get when we don’t reach the goals we set. We get so worked up about this perfect vision we have in our head of exactly what we want that we forget about all the other amazing things thrown our way. I firsthand am guilty of this—I was really hard on myself after not making the SRA finals. Picking yourself back up after a setback is one of the hardest things a barrel racer has to do. I want to encourage everyone to take your setbacks as blessings, because there’s always a reason as to why you’re the one getting thrown to the wolves at the moment. There’s always going to be another finals or another barrel race—always be thankful you can pursue a Plan B opportunity, because if I hadn’t gone to the NBHA Open World, I wouldn’t have won my first-ever Open World Championship or my first-ever fastest-time buckle.

You can still set secondary goals for a Plan B and focus on reaching them in case your original goal doesn’t go as planned—it will be just as satisfying when your hard work pays off.

Not making the Southern Rodeo Association finals turned out to be a big blessing. I found myself at the National Barrel Horse Association Open World Championship, where “H2” and I won the Sweepstakes, the first round, the fastest-time buckle and the finals. Photo by Tammy Sronce.

Keep a Small and Positive Circle

We’ve heard it a hundred times that everyone wants to be your friend when you’re winning. I’ve always been an advocate of hanging out with the people who are better than you, because you have to learn from someone, but it’s important to never forget where you came from either. When you are winning, you may run across people who want see you do poorly—sometimes those people turn out to be your closest ‘friends.’ I’ve always believed that your circle should stay small. Keep it full of the people who want to see you succeed over themselves.

You also might have haters who don’t miss a single one of your runs or a single video. But here’s where I want everyone to turn the negativity around and thrive off your haters—instead of posting a hashtag ‘#hatersgonnahate,’ make every single thing they say drive you to work harder and be better. Unfortunately, some people love to see others do bad, so be the bigger person and make them your motivation to get up every day and make yourself better. I love every negative thing any hater has ever said, because you can change your own attitude to say, ‘I’ll show you how much better I can be,’ and make your haters your motivators.