A conversation between Keri and I sparked the idea for this blog post.
Last night, I had the privilege of speaking to the Missouri State University Cattlemen. What an incredible opportunity to speak to some wonderful young men and women at an immaculate facility. Being that the event was in Springfield, I live east of Saint James, and work in Rolla, I was not going to be able to come home from work before heading down I-44 to Springfield for this event. But leaving so early in the morning as I do, I don’t always have all of my wits about me. With that being said, I had forgotten my cowboy hat at home. If you’ve seen me speak, you’ll know I HAVE to speak in my cowboy hat. Thankfully (for me) my hat was able to arrive in Rolla before I left that afternoon. I won’t go into all that transpired to get the hat to me out of respect for all of those involved… but it got here.
This morning, Keri asked me if I felt comforted in my hat… and my answer to that question was a resounding “YES”
But why? Why do I wear the hat when I talk in front of people? Why does it bring me so much comfort?
Is it because I think it makes me creditable as a cattleman? Possibly. Is it because I’m a bit insecure in my knowledge and in my message so the hat helps cover a bit of that up? More truth to that than I like to admit. Is it because I just like to wear the damn hat? Absolutely
I’ll admit there are times where I feel like I’m not qualified to wear this hat. After all what do I need the hat for? It’s not like I need the wide brim to protect my face when I work. As fun and as challenging as it would be, pills don’t come flying from above as I work in the pharmacy. Even when I am with my cows, most of the time I’m either in a vehicle or on foot. A hat almost seems cumbersome at times.
I tend to overanalyze everything, so it’s not really surprising that I do it with the hat. The truth is that it doesn’t really matter why I wear the hat… it matters that if I wear the hat I do. That I don’t let the fears and insecurities rule me in my personal decision making. That I don’t need to be horseback 14 hours a day to be qualified to wear the hat. That wearing the hat is a comfort and a purpose for me. It’s a symbol of who I am.
So I think that the lesson to be learned here is don’t let the noise from the world get in the way of you expressing your true self. In writing this, I also think of my friend Markie Hageman, founder of the brand ‘Girls Eat Beef Too.’ Markie has shared similar concerns as me as to if she is qualified to wear that hat.
Well the people at the Cattlemen’s Beef Board thought that Markie was more than qualified to wear that hat when they named her 2021 BEEF ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR . Markie is confirmation that no matter what your background and no matter what your operation looks like, you have a seat at this very important table of telling the story of agriculture. That you don’t have to be a day worker or a ranch manager to sport a Stetson, Atwood, American, or Resistol. That if you want to wear the hat, wear the damn hat!!
Be sure to sign up for my newsletter to catch this week’s email. I will be sharing there my experience of speaking to the MSU cattlemens, my bottom 5 Harry Potter Characters, and the latest ASOM podcast