Growing up, I always thought I had accomplished so much in my short life. I owned my own herd of cattle by the age of 15. I was president of my 4-H club for 3 years straight. I won grand champion steer two different times, and was consistently in the top 5 of my showmanship classes. I traveled around the region showing the calves I raised on my own farm. I even left the comfort of the school I grew up in, to take advantage of an excellent agriculture program at the neighboring school district. Over the years, I watched myself learn and grow in so many different ways. I always felt so lucky to have accomplished so much before even going to college.
When I got to college, I quickly realized that my accomplishments weren’t as extravagant as those of my peers, or so I thought.
I never represented the dairy farms of my county as a dairy princess. I was never a finalist for Princess Kay of the Milky Way.
I was never the president of my FFA chapter. I never earned my state degree. I never represented my state by serving on the state FFA officer team.
I never won the state 4-H dairy judging contest. I never got the chance to compete at a national judging contest. I never got to represent my country at a dairy judging contest in Europe.
I couldn’t be more proud of my friends and all of their accomplishments, but sometimes jealousy can get the best of us. We all have moments in our life where we question ourselves and our life decisions.
Even to this day, I sometimes struggle to see beauty in my accomplishments. It has taken me a long time to realize that my accomplishments, while very different than those of the people around me, are still just as amazing. A title or a trophy should never define your success. Only you can create the definition of your own successes.
I may have never been a dairy princess. I may not have a crown, but I can’t even count on my fingers and toes the number of people I have shared my knowledge of Wisconsin’s dairy industry with. Whether it is at the state fair, or even the county fair, I have been able to share my knowledge and passion for the dairy industry with everyone I meet. A crown and a sash will never define my accomplishments and passion within this industry.
I may have never served as the president of my FFA chapter. However, 4-H, while different, was a very large part of my life. I served many years on the executive team of my 4-H club. I was a mentor for younger members in the beef project. I volunteered to clean and help set up the fairgrounds before the fair. A title will never define my accomplishments within an organization.
I may have never won the state dairy judging contest. However, I have been blessed with the most amazing teammates and coaches who made my one trip to the state contest one to remember. I spent countless nights out late with my team practicing placings and reasons, and when it came to the contest we were more than prepared. We went out there, tried our best, but sometimes things don’t always work out the way you want them to. However the memories I made that day mean more to me than any title would have. A trophy will never define my accomplishments.
Accomplishments are different for everyone. For some people they are a crown, a position, or a trophy, but just because we don’t have one or more of those things, doesn’t mean our successes are any less important.
You don’t need a crown to be an ambassador for an industry.
You don’t need a title to influence the lives of others.
You don’t need a trophy to prove you are good at something.
Only you can define your own accomplishments.