At times it feels like I am an imposter, living a life that is foreign to me. I didn't grow up in a bait and bullet family, I didn't hunt with my dad, or spend hours in the woods learning calls as a kid. I did however choose to explore the "world" of hunting and fly fishing. It was an active decision to alter my life, for the better, and create a legacy of my own. When I started getting more involved in fly fishing and hunting, I did not have many female role models, or male role models for that matter. I had myself and some really nice people at the sporting goods store. If I wanted to know how to do something, I sought out my own answers. I can remember sitting on the floor in Barnes & Noble reading book after book (purchasing way too many of them), spending hours watching YouTube videos, searching Instagram for the girls who were providing informational content, and calling and asking companies for advice. That was my foundation. I built it. It was not an over night job, it took me years to feel comfortable with my abilities! Thankfully now I have the tools I need to teach others, run my business, hunt different species and be educated while doing so. & I surround myself with the smartest people in the industry. You know that ole' saying, you are the company you keep? Well I keep my tribe full of highly qualified badass people!
I get asked time and time again, "How are you qualified to guide?" "What makes you a guide?" "How do I become a guide?" My answer to all of that? It is my FOUNDATION. I run my guide service and my outdoor career just like I would a Corporate 9-5. I have a development plan, I have career goals I set for myself, trainings I schedule to better myself, workshops I attend, and a whole list of other bullet points. And every state I work in requires that I provide documentation backing up the above (they check that you are capable of guiding). I have a Bachelors in Biology, I studied Trout Entomology, I went to a reputable guide school, I applied for my guide license, and I show up everyday at my Outfitters ready to be the best "employee" possible. Do I know everything about fly fishing or hunting? HECK NO! But then again who does? I have a passion for aiding people in the outdoors, teaching them how enjoy the outdoors on their own, and I keep them safe while doing it. And at the end of the day, that is what being a qualified guide is.
fru·i·tion: noun. the point at which a plan or project is realized
2018 is all about seeing my plans come to fruition. Twenty-seventeen was a milestone, I made a few very good business decisions that enabled me to be where I am right now. While I cannot share them all just yet, I will be sharing more soon! Here are some of the goals for this year that I can share:
Attend 4 Industry Related Shows as Staff
Teach 5+ Fly Fishing 101 Classes
Build Programs for Fly Fishing & Hunting
Help with Raise Em' Outdoors Camp
Get More Involved with My Local Conservation Community
Guide 80 + Days of the Water
Continue Growing my Firearms Knowledge
Complete Grand Slam for Turkey
Get Better at Tying My Own Flies
While that list is short, I ensure you, most of those will take up months if not the entire year to complete. I encourage everyone of you to make a list of goals for the year. Not resolutions, goals. Create a plan, make actionable step, and then work on them. You are in charge of your growth, your education, and your foundation. Lay the ground work & get to work!