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The Importance of Exposure

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The Importance of Exposure

Ethan Tree Climbing

Imagine a busy highway with heavy and overwhelming traffic zooming both ways. Now imagine you’re a lost bystander on the side of the road and the speed, noise, and vibration of the cars frightens you. There are two choices you can make in this moment:

1. Turn your back to the highway and wander aimlessly, just hoping to stay clear of discomfort
2. Make the effort to pay attention to the busy highway, no matter how frightening it is.

Which choice do you think will get you to your desired destination? The second one, of course. By being attentive to the highway, you’ll be able to flag down cars as they pass by and get a lift. This highway analogy was first introduced to me by one of my mentors, Kevan, and I don’t think that I’ll forget it anytime soon. For those who want to be sure that they understand it, the busy highway represents the countless opportunities that come and go here at the ranch and you can choose to either put your head down and live like a robot, or you can take advantage of the many learning opportunities available and work towards your goals and visions.

When I first applied to become an intern at the ranch, I knew that I was going to learn a lot of new things, but I never expected just how much I would be exposed to – and thrown into the middle of. In 3 months, I learned many new life and business skills. But more than that, many situations, experiences, and conversations that I was a part of left an impact on me and I grew from them. Kevan liked to half-joke about how long my resume would be by the end of my term. Now, I’m the type of person who likes an aesthetic and concise resume (1-2 pages) and so it wouldn’t be quite practical to list out all of the experiences and skills I’ve gained at the ranch. But I can list them here!

In no particular order, these are the resume-worthy experiences and skills that I’ve gained from my time at the ranch:

  • Western horseback riding (I even rode more bareback than I did saddled)
  • Horse tracking
  • Horse deworming
  • Wood chopping and splitting
  • Fire-making
  • Chainsaw operating
  • Tree climbing
  • Cooking and baking for guests (apparently, I’m a pretty good cook)
  • Sledgehammer handle fixing
  • Archery
  • Public speaking and presenting
  • Mentoring
  • Social media managing and content creation
  • CRM maintenance
  • Website optimizing
  • Working in cPanel
  • Logo creating
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Paid Facebook and Google advertising
  • “Guiding” with the ranch cat, Tosh (helping him catch mice and squirrels)
  • Skidder and CAT driving
  • Logging

There’s more where that came from, but I don’t think I can remember and recount them all. The point is, these are all of the opportunities that I could’ve missed or avoided had my back been against the busy highway, intentionally or not.

I like to think that I would’ve always taken the hard road and faced the highway even if Kevan wasn’t constantly reminding us about seizing opportunities and promoting personal development but the truth is, it’s super easy to fall into the trap of comfort and become stuck in life. So, I’m very grateful for the empowering lessons I’ve had here, despite many of them making me feel uncomfortable in the moment.

Up ‘til now, I’ve mainly been talking about skills I’ve learned and experiences I’ve had – external things. There’s a whole other side of the coin (or extra lanes if we’re still going with the highway analogy), however, and that is that of internal exposure which is something that is more important than external exposure. Everything I’ve seen and been through at the ranch has affirmed that external circumstances are mainly facilitators for internal growth. Change and personal growth begin from the inside. It’s up to you to choose what kind of attitude you want to have. Do you want to be a person who always seeks to find fault with others and avoids responsibility? Or do you want to make the conscious and more difficult decision to have a humble and cooperative attitude – one that takes responsibility and doesn’t resort to deferral? Personally, I struggle with responsibility and deferral but it’s something I’m getting better at and plan to continue to improve at.

Speaking of the future, my internship at the Chilcotin Holidays ranch is at an end and I’ll be returning home to New Brunswick very shortly to finish my university studies with a newfound passion and focus (after my mandatory 14-day self-isolation period of course.) Thanks to my time here and all of the wonderful people I got to meet, work with, and laugh with, I’m confident in saying that I won’t forget what I’ve learned here. My life is only beginning, and I thank God for even the opportunity to fly across the country for this internship, considering everything going on with the pandemic – speaking of which, it’s almost like a different world out here in the South Chilcotin Mountains. It’s so peaceful, beautiful nature is all around, and the air is so fresh. If you’re feeling like you really need to escape from the city and the stress of uncertainty, consider coming up to the Chilcotin Holidays ranch for a few days. It’s truly a wonderful place.

On that note, I’ll say my goodbyes, both to you and to the wonderful Trails to Empowerment community here at the ranch. As we like to say at the end of our Morning Reviews, “I appreciate you!”