International Women’s Day – a question for Linda Parelli

To all the ladies out there! Today is International Women’s Day. We celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women all over the globe. One of my biggest role models is Linda Parelli from Parelli Natural Horsemanship.

Parelli Natural Horsemanship is founded by Pat Parelli. Linda Parelli has joined her husband Pat Parelli to teach humans through their Parelli Program focussing on teaching humans rather than training horses. Parelli is all about understanding the psychology, personality and nature of horses.

The question

Today Linda Parelli was live on facebook to talk about #SheMeansBusiness to support women in business all over the world. Linda explained her background in business and answered questions. My question was: “What is your biggest advice to women who start a new business?”

“This is from Kim. What advice do I have to women who start a new business? PLAN IT! Plan it, plan it, plan it! When I think about if I had to do this all over again I would plan it. What Pat and I did was we just went in with this passion and we were just going to make things work. Things just grew and grew and grew and we were reacting and responsive to the business, rather than going ‘here is our strategic track’. I know from starting my Pegasus program with my friend Andrew, we planned it. We said: “This is what we are going to do.” And he said: “One of the most important things is that you are very bussy with Parelli and that is your number one thing. So how can we do this in a way that it is not going to overtax you because you already have very little time.” That made it easy for me to be able to think about how can I do this and not make this a burden. And something I am very passionate about – let’s face it, I’m not going to stop doing what I do with Parelli, that’s really important to me – so this is an adjunct to that. So again, through the Pegasus program: it helps you to write down your goals and to look at them strategically. And the people that you need to help you, and one of the limiting steps, how do you move forward from here. It is done quite simply with a lot of stories. My advice is to plan it and then frankly do my Pegasus program, it will help you lay the whole thing out.”

Background of Linda Parelli

Ever since I heared of Parelli Natural horsemanship Linda has been such a role model to me. That is why I also wanted to share her bachground story with you. May it inspire you to always follow your dreams!

Linda was in high school when she decided that she needed to figure out what she wanted in life. At 17 she still had no idea. At 18 one of her mother’s friends said: “Why don’t you become a teacher? Go to university and studie to be a teacher. It is great if you ever get married and have kids. It has great hours and long holidays.” Linda couldn’t think of anything else so she was just going to do that. So Linda Parelli got her first scholarship to univeristy. She found herself with a couple of friends at school and one of them in particular was just really passionate about teaching kids. And that was what they were learning, to teach kids.

So many years later, Linda Parelli laughs about it thinking back to that time, because that was not her passion at all. She did it because she didn’t know what to do. One day Linda said to her friend: “You know what? I need to leave university because it’s your fault.” “What do you mean it’s my fault?” her friend replied. And Linda said: “Well, because your so passionate about this and I feel like a fraud. I’m here because I don’t know what to do.”

Next, Linda started at looking what she might do if she was going to leave university. And she tought about her interests: movie make-up and make-up artistry. She thought about searching a course for that and just get out into the world. She wanted to become someone.

I think a lot of girls can relate to this story. For me it was even more dramatic. Because I always felt the urge to study and be a professional whatever, to get a good job and have a title. I tried 3 studies and quite all 3 of them because it just wasn’t what I really wanted to do. And that is to work with horses. So at 21 I finaly found the courage to choose for myself and do the thing I loved most, that’s when I started Equestrian Sports at NHB Deurne.

Linda Parelli ended up, through researching make-up schools, in beauty therapy. She did a three month course with a skin care company in Australia and Europe, they were employing her. She thought it was funny because she was working part time as a beauty therapist and the company gave her the opportunity to work as a receptionist.
Linda started to awnser questions and write the newsletter and she got really into it. She started to enjoy the business side of things. Helping people, providing awnsers and solving problems.
Linda was then invited to a product school. She was unsure and and a little insecure, but the school said just to try it. Linda tried a three day program. After the school the beauty school asked Linda what her thoughts were and she said what could have been done better. And as a result of that Linda was the next one to give the school. Against all her expectations Linda loved it, she hit her strike and word start to spread. By the thirt one, Linda already had 75 people in the room where she started with 12.

In the mean time she did a lot of personal development. Linda got really interested in personal growth and she was able to study with lots of different people. And it absolutely changed her life! From this experience came her work on horsenality. After 7 years of being in business she got back into horses. She bought a horse and he was the horse that led her to Pat Parelli. Her horse was out of controle. She did the clinic with Pat and there was a result in half a day. Linda asked Pat when he was coming back and he said that he would be back in probably a year. She kept learning and improving. Pat Parelli came back and Linda did two more clinics with him. She asked Pat again if he would be back next year, but that was unsure because the guy promoting Pat couldn’t do that anymore.
Linda’s thoughts were that she had to keep sharing this incredible knowlegde and said: “Well, I’ll do it.” Of course she had no idea what she put her hand up for. She was already an executive and she was working and traveling probably three weekends out of four. She doens’t know how she pulled this off, but she knew that she had to help bring this to people, because the Parelli message is so powerful. This was back in 1990.

Linda opened an office for Pat Parelli in Sydney in Austalia and promoted his tours when he came over once and then twice a year. And it just kept spreading. She uses a lot of what she does in passion and her communication to get people to be interested and to want to come and experience and share the message.

It was kind of unwitting that she got into business that way, because she was working for the house trading company. She didn’t think of herself being in business. Linda always said: “This feels like this is my business and I treat it like it’s my business. But it wasn’t until I moved to the States and I was actually in personally business with Pat, that it really hit me.”

Linda says she never really thought about it as business, but as the message they wanted to share. And as it got more popular, business naturally started to grow from their passion, dedication and communacation. Linda and Pat had no idea what it would take, but they wanted to change the world. They started to share their passion and had amazing people join them in their business.

As a women in business Linda always thought that she was more a support person than she was an actual business leader. Pat Parelli kept pushing her to the front. A good friend helped Linda to develop the horsenality/humanality report. He said: “You know Linda, most of your audience is women. What are you doing in the background? You need to get up there and be a little more of a leader.” But Linda felt like that’s not where she should be, that’s Pat and she would support it all. Both men pushed her more and more to the front and she began to run some courses and she did more at the front of the stage. Because a lot of what Linda did was the educational material. She put Pat’s brain in print like she likes to say.
As a business in the beginning Linda did a lot, almost everything that was required, except for the books. They traveled all over the place and they were tireless because they were so passionate about everything. Then their partner said: “Linda you need to get out of the business and stop doing so much on the business side of things and let us run it. You need to be Linda Parelli.” And Linda remembers thinking: “I don’t know who she is. If I’m not doing this in the business, if I’m not actively communicating with costumers all the time and helping students and developing materials…” “You will still develop materials but you need to get out and focus more on your horsemanship and become the leader that the horseworld needs, a female leader.” Linda remembers being very uncomfortable at the time for quite a while because it was disorienting. She didn’t know who she was if she was not in an office. Linda felt guilty riding her own horses, she thought she should be working, but that was what she had to be good at as it fuels her teaching and knowledge.

This was probably about ten years ago. She started focussing more on dressage again and how she could bridge these two worlds of natural horsemanship and  dressage. Linda got to ride her horses a lot and developed herself again, more her horsemanship side of it, and she put herself in the shoes of the student again. Linda thought it was very humbling because, as many of us know, when your learning you don’t feel confident. You feel silly, you feel stupid. You think about what’s wrong with yourself while you feel confident in other ereas of your life and when it comes to being a student Linda doens’t feel like herself. When people find learning so hard they want to give up. A lot of what she did was to get people to enjoy learning and to learn how to become more confident. This was the basis of a lot of what Linda and Pat produced in their educational material and savvy club.

As things continued to progess Linda began to get a lot of people asking her about herself and her life. Like how does she get up motivated every morning or how does she stay motivated or how does she get all this energy? What makes Linda so passionate about everything? And Linda said: “Well, I’ve got a big mission.” Linda began to really think about it and she thought: “You know what? I worked hard on myself to become more confident, focussed, passionate and persistent. And yes, there are things in my character that help me be like that, but I really worked hard on the personal growth side of things.” A friend of Linda’s approached her and said: “Do something about your personal growth effords and let’s put a program together.” And they did. About a year ago they launched the Pagasus Personal Growth Program which has a manual and then monthly tutorials that they do online. It’s all focussed on your personal growth.

A lot of Linda’s stories are about her growth in Parelli and what she learned from Pat and her mentors and all the people that have helped her. She thinks it is really interesting for people to see that other side of her, because they see her as a horsewoman who is on top of her game in that world. But how did she get there and does she manage herself on a day to day basis is what she put into the personal growth program. Linda recently wrote a book called ‘Confidence for Women’ which is based on the book she had done for the personal growth program.

Through horsemanship, learning about business, going through all these challanges that business presents:  try not to loose who you are and become better because of it. Business is the new men physical world. If you look at it as something you develop yourself in and your relationships with people and understand the cycles of life and business. That’s what it is all about. It is not business that has a name on the door and you just show up to work every day. It’s got te be driven by a mission and a passion. And that really in a nutshell what Linda does. One of the messages that Linda has for #SheMeansBusiness is how to have passion be at the core of what you do and that makes it so wonderfull. Because every day you turn up and it is fun and challenging. It helps you to persist and to keep going when things are difficult. Doing what you love is a blessing, but you also make that. There is a way for you to find that and not just be satisfied with what you do everyday. Passion, mission and good people surrounding you is Linda’s message of being a woman in business.


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