Ever had one of those tangible moments when you actually believe, that others believe in you?
Of all the leadership challenges, belief in self often remains our greatest limiting factor. We can spend a lot of time learning and understanding but it is in the moment second guessing ourselves that stops us from applying our knowledge to take the risk and make that next step.
That would be the emotional part of our brain sabotaging the rational holding us back from something we have the skill, knowledge and experience to manage. Seth Godin calls that “The Lizard Brain – the prehistoric brainstem that all of us must contend with” — referring to it as the part that “doesn’t like being laughed at”.
Rhys the horse who continually creates memorable moments for me, offered another one today. It was the linchpin1 in our relationship. I used the word tangible to describe the moment because it left behind a glow, an actual feeling. Well at least that is how it seemed to me.
I was on Rhys in the outdoor ring, checking out where we were both at before heading out on a ride. Zoe, my other best teacher, surely must have decided it was time for my next lesson. She rallied the herd and headed to the back field. Heads up, tails flying, bodies rushed past the rails of the corral from two different directions and headed up over the hill, my only thought was “I should get off”. For those who understand how powerful a magnet a leaving herd can be to a horse you might understand that first thought. But I didn’t get off, my next thought was I can manage this I have the knowledge and skill to get through this. “Rhys we have been through a lot together this shouldn’t be a problem – let’s work through this.”
Rhys was concerned that others had left, but as soon as I asked him to get busy he was visibly relieved that I was still there. When a horse blows through their nose it can be a huge physical and mental release for them. That was what he offered me.
We spent a few more minutes in the arena to confirm he was connected to me and not the long gone herd, and then headed in the opposite direction to the stubble fields. Our part of the world is currently a construction zone – an old wellsite is being remediated just north of us and the County is putting a water line down the road we live on. Not counting the steady stream and rumble of dump trucks there are no less than 9 major pieces of equipment and one generator droning away all day, it is noisy and disruptive. It has become a perfect training ground.
I couldn’t have imagined taking Rhys past a backhoe even a few months ago, but today I believed we could. It was the best ride we have ever had. I believe Rhys is a completely different horse, what has changed however is me.
1- The linchpin – a locking pin that holds the wheel to the axel or the name of Seth Godin’s new book.
Photo courtesy of Sandra Anderson
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