What she didn't see were the tears shed in frustration; the nagging self-doubt; the long hours struggling to meet a goal; or the number of times that I fell down, dusted myself off, and went back to work. There's a name for this in the field of education, it's called a growth mindset. I can't do that, YET.
I learned about growth mindset fairly recently. I had just been raised to be goal oriented. Set a goal, work like heck to meet it, and then set a new goal. Then, when I was working on my Ph.D. I focused on something that I had learned from a senior professor: the candidates who graduate aren't the most intelligent, they are the most persistent. Persistent I can do.
But what does that have to do with goats?
I've include Leia's picture here because she reminds me of the number of false starts that I had before I hit my stride as a breeder. First there were the Nubians (round 1), then the pretty show goats with the unproductive udders (round 2), then the introduction of Castle Rock, Dill's, and Algedi genetics (round 3). Leia is the third generation of "round 3" of Owlhaven breeding. Time and persistence. I don't believe in silver bullets.
Right now I am learning to AI. And, as usual, I am going through my typical stages (rounds 1, 2, 3). Take some classes, buy the stuff, give it an (unsuccessful) try. Go to another training with a different trainer, get new insights. Try it again. As I do this I am reminding my internal critic that, although I almost never get anything right the first time, by the third go I'm usually doing pretty okay.
Why do I feel safe saying that?
That's the way it worked for disbudding (Sorry y'all who bought from me in years 2 and 3!). That's also the way it worked for blood draws. The first time was torture (Sorry girls!). Second time started out rough, but I was doing okay by the sixth draw. Third time (this year) I struck oil on the first try for some of the draws. Without human assistance. Practice makes perfect - with one catch. Give your brain a rest in between. For the blood draws it was year one, year two, year three. Same for the disbudding. And while I'm at it, the same for marketing and for ultrasounding.
My brain needs time to process information. Resting time. Goat stuff is seasonal, so the second and third tries happen during the following seasons. When I am rehearsing a new song (I sing opera, badly), I get to a certain point then have to put it aside for a month or so before I can make any more progress.
Now I'm working on learning AI technique. The first few times I was pressed for time and couldn't do the check the mucous every twelve hours routine. Plus, I was too stressed at work (my day job) to add the layer of attempting a CIDR protocol. But I needed the practice (use it or lose it). So I AI'd a bunch of does on their natural heats.
Guess what? No surprise here, zero conception.
It's been a bit over a month and I've had time to reflect on my process and attend a second training, this time given by someone with extensive experience doing AI on a busy farm. So, my method has changed a bit. I also redesigned my AI space to make it easier and less stressful for me and the does. Now that I'm in a week-long school break for Thanksgiving, I'm going to give AI another try. This is just my second go at it so I'm not expecting great results, just a bit better than the last go. But I know that each time it will get a bit better. I believe in my process. It hasn't failed me yet.
Believe in yourself. Persist.
Marie-France Orillion, Ph.D.
Welcome to my blog! I am a retired researcher/university administrator. Since I'm a bit of a workaholic (my other addiction is sugar), I've embarked on a second career as an elementary school teacher. When I'm not working I enjoy playing with my goats and my gardens. This blog is a place where I reflect on what I've learned along the way.