You Can’t Read the Label When You’re Inside the Jar

Donene Taylor's explanation on getting outside your comfort zone, ask questions, be honest, and more.

You Can’t Read The Label When You’re Inside The Jar
Courtesy Donene Taylor

In my book, Heart of a Champion, one of my chapters is titled, “My Kingdom for a Horse.” It took a process of steps, over a long period of time, before I acquired Chester on March 16, 2014. Chester has grown me beyond measure, and he adds a whole lot of love and joy to my life as well.

Once Lari Dee Guy agreed to sell Chester to me, she sent me back to Trevor Brazile’s to get the saddle he used on Chester and to figure out what headgear to send home with me.  When I got to Mr. Brazile’s, I found myself standing in his legendary tack room. I watched him go through all of his bits hanging on the wall, until he found two bits that he thought would work. He said, “Let’s text Lari Dee a photo of them both and ask her which one she wants you to take home.” As we were waiting for Lari Dee to respond, Mr. Brazile looked me in the eyes and asked me a life-changing question that I continue to ask myself frequently. He said, “Who helps you to get better?”  I quickly responded, “Lari Dee helps me to get better, Mr. Brazile.”  He said, “Right, but how far does she live from you?”  I quickly picked up what he was laying down. It’s an 18-hour drive to Lari Dee’s ranch from my house.  I told Mr. Brazile, “Troy Pruitt helps me a lot too! Troy lives 3 ½ hours from my house.”  He nodded in agreement and said, “That will work!”

The Score: Season 3, Episode 9 with Donene Taylor and Lari Dee Guy 

Mr. Brazile knew that in order for me to have success with Chester, it would take a lot of coaching from expert mentors. He knew there would be bumps in the road, glitches, challenges, and mistakes built into the process of running down my Bold Goal to win a World Championship. Mr. Brazile understood the extreme value of bringing elite coaches along with me in my journey.

You Can’t Read The Label When You’re Inside The Jar
Courtesy Donene Taylor

So, let’s fast forward a quick 7 ½ years later, to just a couple weeks ago, October 27 and 28, 2021.  I found myself warming Chester up in Mr. Brazile’s indoor arena. I was not there by accident. It was intentional. This was a plan I had begun to “reverse engineer,” after I roped in a WCRA Challenger and Open breakaway roping in Cheyenne, Wyoming on July 26th of this year. After competing at Cheyenne, I reflected on my performance by asking myself a few thought-provoking questions.  These questions helped me identify many things I did well that day.  I also identified the One ThingI could do better.  I invested a lot of time and effort breaking down my “One Thing.”  I had the awareness that when I figure out how to do this “One Thing” differently, it will make my entire roping run much, much better. My “One Thing” reminded me of the Pareto Principle. Sometimes this is known as the 80/20 Rule.  Here is how the 80/20 Rule applied to my roping performance. The “One Thing,” the glitch, that I identified I needed to do better, made up 20% of my breakaway roping run. This glitch, that is 20% of my roping run, was causing 80% of my problems. I was confident in my thinking that once I corrected this 20% glitch in my performance, my total results would exponentially get better.

My Daily Goal is to Be the Best at Getting Better!!  So, I asked myself, “Who can help me close this gap, eliminate this glitch, and coach me up to be better?” My answer, “Mr. Trevor Brazile.”I texted him and asked for help. Mr. Brazile agreed to help me and Chester.

“Know Better, Do Better”

I approached this opportunity to work with Mr. Brazile like I do when I work with all of my coaches. I drew a line in the sand, stepped across it, and honored my 3 non-negotiables:

  1. Let go of all my old ways.
  2. Do everything Mr. Brazile asks me to do, and
  3. Have unquestionable trust.

I also knew I needed to intentionally get outside my comfort zone, ask questions, be honest, and vulnerable with Mr. Brazile, regarding my situation.  The first thing I told Mr. Brazile, before we began doing work was, “I OWN EVERYTHING that Chester is doing.” I knew I caused the problem, and the buck stopped with me. I made the decision to be “ALL-IN,” committed to learn and create new ways of doing things.  Mr. Brazile agreed that correcting the glitch would make a huge, productive difference in my breakaway and tie-down roping.

From the first time I rode Chester into the box, and as I executed the last drill of the day, on the final day of lessons, I found myself repeating numerous times to myself –and to Mr. Brazile, “I DID NOT KNOW I DID THAT.”

Every time this phrase bubbled up, for me it meant I had Unconscious Incompetence. This simply means, you don’t know what you don’t know. I was doing things incorrectly without knowing I was doing things incorrectly. Mr. Brazile was helping me gain awareness of what I needed to do differently. The first step in performance change is AWARENESS. The gift of awareness that he gave me was priceless.  The second step of performance change is gaining correct STRATEGY. I left Mr. Brazile’s with many strategies and drills to keep building my new skills and skillsets.  The third step of performance change is TAKING ACTION. I took immediate action when I returned home, by implementing a better training plan.

I love the quote, “You can’t read the label when you’re inside the jar.”  I first heard it from my elite coach, Christine. I write about her in the acknowledgement section of my book, Heart of a Champion.  I am extremely grateful and indebted to Mr. Brazile for investing the time to read the label of my jar. I had no idea what my label read, until Mr. Brazile explained it to me.The time I invested in those lessons helped me learn more about myself and how to perform better. I left Mr. Brazile’s with more clarity, confidence, and a shift of mindset about who I am and what I am capable of accomplishing.  This experience was priceless. I am continuing to reflect and unpack all of the lessons and learns. It has been fun to implement these new drills and very rewarding to see better results.

Doing vs. Trying: Knowing the Difference to Achieve your Bold Goals

Running Down Bold Goals Is A Wild Adventure!!  I have never regretted Digging Deeper and Doing the Work.  Once you commit to Digging Deeper and Doing the Work, your life will never be the same.  If you would like help in reading the label of your jar, it would be my honor to help you.

I read the jar label of each athlete I coach. I help them discover the self-awareness they need to take the first step in their performance change. I coach specific strategies and provide drills which help them move forward in their journey. I provide high-level support and accountability which stokes the fire for motivation, discipline, and commitment, thus establishing permanent, productive change in their lives.

If you are in a place in your life where you are ready to “Master the Art of Winning,” it would be my honor to coach you. Contact me at to begin my 90-day Mental Performance Program. I would love to help you rundown your Bold Goals.

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