5 Tips to Professional Success

5 Tips to Professional Success

Piper Klemm of The Plaid Horse offers 5 tips for professional success, whether your career takes you into an office or out to the stables. 

By Dr. Piper Klemm

1. Read as much as you can often as you can. Start with literally anything you want to read-easy reads, beach reads, or the cereal box. Then start to push yourself and read in your field, out of your field, fiction, non-fiction, and anything that gets you thinking in large scale, critically, and anything that starts helping you make connections between projects. I read all the time-long form, short form, crime novels from the airport, Audible, in print, online, fiction, non-fiction, and anything else that I pick up. Everything you read helps you make connections with every other part of your life. 

On top of all kinds of reading, I try to do one or two books a year that I really am challenged by or struggle through - last year was the length of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, the year before it was Olga Tokaczuk’s The Books of Jacob, and the year before was a re-read of Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid

2. Listen, ask questions, and have a present conversation with people any chance you get. Every person has a fascinating story if you can start asking the right questions. Put yourself out there and risk awkwardness and not knowing what to say and engage. Every conversation you have will help you make connections and learn more about the world, your field, and gain empathy for others’ experiences. Be a good friend wherever you are able. 

3. Reply to all emails, texts, and phone calls within 24 hours. It is so tempting to not hold yourself accountable in today’s ever present world or let stuff get away from you. Develop good habits and pick a time of day to get back to as many people as you can. So much opportunity comes from being reliable, good to your word, and available when the right opportunity comes up. I’m not perfect but getting back to people is one of the most important ways to grow excellent friendships, your network, and your business. 

4. Whatever decisions you have to make, always ask yourself what the right thing to do is. If you're unsure what the right thing is to do in a situation, make a list of people who you think do the right thing and ask them for their advice. Then do the right thing. 

5. Be willing to move on and make amends with people, organizations, and situations. Just as we are all so good at starting fresh with our horses, people can make mistakes too. The successful people I know have all had bad things happen and errors, mistakes, and downright nasty situations. They don’t talk about them all the time, dwell on them, or focus on them. They learn from them if needed or figure out that outliers occasionally happen and move on.  


About Piper

Dr. Piper Klemm is the owner and publisher of The Plaid Horse. Her mission is to educate young equestrians in every facet of our industry and to empower young women in particular to find their voices and stories—and to share them. She has spent her entire career focusing on education through various channels, including The Plaidcast, North America’s most listened-to horse show podcast; co-authoring the Show Strides book series; and by providing educational articles, grants, and experiential learning opportunities for riders of all ages and levels.

Why Piper Loves BOTORI

My favorite BOTORI is the breeches! I never worry if they’re going to fit even if there is time between shows and when I’m off hacking by myself, I know my phone will stay in snugly. 

Photos in this series by @shawnmcmillenphoto

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