Twice per year The Beer Ranch is host to a dirt bike race.

When I was first approached about hosting dirt bike races, my immediate response was “NO!”

The ranch is a quiet sanctuary for humans and animals. We live within the peace of herbivores, sleep to the whispers of the trees, work to the background chorus of crickets and frogs. Dirt bikes are loud, navigated by dare devils and the thought of having 100 plus people over running the whole place seemed less than ideal.

But one of the realities of ranching in the current age is that you have to think outside the fences for ranch income and every little bit helps.

But one of the realities of ranching in the current age is that you have to think outside the fences for ranch income and every little bit helps.

So I said “yes.”

This year marks three years we will have hosted bike races and I can not tell you how much I look forward to the bikers being here. In the loudness of their bikes there is an amazing energy that somehow fits with the trees and the frogs. In their dare-devil riding, there is an enthusiasm for life that is contagious.

I worried about the horses being scared; they could care less, only occasionally looking on the activity with curiosity. I worried about the pastures being torn up; they come out only slightly worn and bounce back in a matter of weeks. The timber trails are beautiful, we hike on them year round and ride them on horseback when there’s time for such things. The cows nap under the pecan tree grove next to the pasture camp ground barely cognizant that anything is different except the gate to the far pastures are closed for two days.

Three years ago, I had no idea The Beer Ranch had the “skills” to host a dirt bike race. Twenty years ago, I did not think I had the “skills” to run the ranch. Twenty five years ago, I did not think I had the “skills” to be a professional photographer. I’ll bet many of the guys and gals on the course today didn’t think they had the “skills” to race a tough timber track at break neck speeds.

In my business coaching I see all too frequently entrepreneurs who wave off opportunities because they don’t think they have the “skills” to do them. Maybe they lack a certificate. Maybe they think they need a degree. (I have no formal photography training, by the way. None. Zero.) Maybe they think they need someone to tell them they are good at whatever it is they want to do.

In my business coaching I see all too frequently entrepreneurs who wave off opportunities because they don’t think they have the “skills” to do them.

The truth is, opportunity shows up. Either you entertain it or slam the door in its face.

On my Facebook newsfeed this morning, a quote from Richard Branson scrolled by, “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes — then learn hot to do it later.”

I honestly think this is what makes the difference between the entrepreneurs who make it and the ones who struggle.

When I started Midnight Productions, Inc., I thought I wanted to work with agricultural business and I thought I wanted to have my business focused on graphic design. I thought that was where the money was to be made. Photography was secondary to my income plans. Video wasn’t even in my skill set — at all. Dogs trainers were not in my target market  — at all.

Very early in my business’ evolution, I was at a horse event in Kansas City where a cowboy was giving a working dog demonstration. As a ranch kid, I was impressed with his dog handling so I approached him after the demo just to tell him that I admired his training skills. In the ensuing conversation he told me how he’d been wanting to produce a training book and video for a long time but couldn’t find the right writer or videographer. Then he asked if my company did video. I said, “Yes!”

The next thing I know I had the job of videoing “Training your Hangin’ Tree Cowdog with Charlie Trayer” plus photographing and writing the companion book.

The next day after I met Charlie, I spent the day finding a place to rent professional video equipment, drilled the guy who rented me the equipment on how to use it, and within two weeks showed up at the Cottonwood Ranch ready to shoot. There was a learning curve, yes. And yes, I screwed up several shoots. But in the end, I produced a video other trained video professionals could not because they lacked skills in understanding dog training and herd behavior — both of which were integral to making this particular video work. I used my background and my ingenuity to make a project work. It added a skill set to my business that has made me a lot of money since.

I used my background and my ingenuity to make a project work. It added a skill set to my business that has made me a lot of money since.

Now, I’m not saying that if you get an opportunity to fly fighter jets, and you’ve never even ridden in a plane, that things will work out for you as a fighter pilot by next week. But I am telling you that success often lies in being bold.

I’m also not telling you to lie about your skills. I’m just saying, that sometimes saying “yes,” even if you don’t know exactly how that “yes” is going to work out, is not only okay but necessary.

As an accomplished photographer and video producer, I can now LIVE my skills. I can tackle just about any video or photography project  that comes my way.  I can walk onto a shoot and command it the way I want it to go. I am proud of my art and my action.

It didn’t start out that way though. I suffered through many mistakes, agonized over camera settings, ruined rolls of film back in the day and took on jobs that if the clients had solidly known my real skill level they would probably have never hired me to complete. It was the same with graphic design and teaching and ranching. If that first set of first calf heifers had been fully aware of my skill level to help them get through their first calving season alive, they probably would have defected to the neighbor’s pasture.

Every biker on the track today took the opportunity to ride their first dirt bike track when it was offered — even if they had no idea how. There was a day when a dirt bike race on The Beer Ranch wasn’t even a notion for me or the race producer, Forward Motion Hare Scrambles. But here we all are, zooming forward into the future.

So go out there and LIVE your skills even if you aren’t sure of them yet — push that throttle to the limit and see where the ride takes you.