LIFE LESSON: Success Requires Sacrifice
AN UNPUBLISHED LIFE LESSON WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR MY TAMING THE WILD BOOK:
Some of our greatest successes in life have come from our biggest sacrifices.
When I was just 5 years old, our family moved to Whangarei following a near-bankruptcy. Four acres of bare land was being sold at a mortgagee sale for $32,000 and it was my parents’ only chance to become land-owners again after losing everything on a subdivision that had gone wrong. Our parents had scraped together a deposit and managed to get a loan to buy the property, but there wasn’t a cent spare to build on the land. For the next few years we lived in tents, then caravans, then an old jail cell, before they were able to build the shell of an 80-square-metre home. Even then, rooms were divided by hanging sheets of fabric and by furniture, and it took another six years before the house was complete.
Now, our parents have a 10-acre property, and my sisters and I also own land. However, if they hadn’t been willing to rough it in order to get their feet into the property market, there’s a good chance we’d have no assets today.
Just like my parents, I’ve had to make sacrifices countless times. If it’s for something I’m passionate about it’s easy, but if not then there are times when I wonder if it’s worth it or have even quit. That's why it is so important to recognise and pursue the things you love, so that when there are times of struggle and sacrifice you’re able to stay positive and overcome them.
When it comes to taming wild horses, the biggest sacrifice is time and money. There has been little to no financial return on either my money or my time investment in the wild horses. Not only that, but I also sacrifice my ability to earn an income for the months I spend working full-time with them. However, what the horses teach me is invaluable, so it’s a sacrifice I am willing to make. I am fortunate that my career as an author gives me the flexibility and freedom to dedicate so much time to them; it’s a dream life to be able to live out adventures with my horses, then write about them.
In 2018, however, taming such a large quantity of wild horses in an already busy year was almost too much. I was working the Kaimanawas from dawn till dusk, then writing on book deadlines and editing photos often into the wee hours of the morning. Often this meant working 12-to 18-hour days with no time off. The work-load was sheer insanity, and yet I thrived. Sure, at times I was exhausted, but I’d made a commitment to the horses to do right by them. Rather than leave them sitting in yards, or doing things half-pie, I had to make sacrifices. Reneging on book contracts I’d signed was no more an option than sacrificing the taming of the horses, so instead I sacrificed my social life, reduced my time watching TV and on social media, and several hours of sleep a night to get everything done to the best of my ability.
The huge work-load I had could well have led to resentment, but instead I relished the work I was doing. I wasn’t getting paid for my work with the horses — in fact, it was costing me money — yet I was more than willing to dedicate long hours, day in and day out, for months on end. You know that you truly have a passion when you’ll spend hours doing something even when you’re not getting paid for it. For me, my four greatest passions — horses, photography, travel and writing — have come together to create a career I love, but it certainly doesn’t mean that my life is always fun or easy. Rather, I am just so passionate about what I am doing that it is worth the sacrifices needed to make my dreams a reality.