I recently had a few minutes between meetings and I took the opportunity to sit with the horses. On wet grass no less! As I sat quietly with the herd, Kalle lay down next to me. My heart was almost in my mouth. When 650kg of prey animal chooses to lie down in your company, it feels like a massive privilege.
I moved closer to her so I could feel her breath and almost touch her although I didn’t because I have huge respect for her need for personal space. Horses don’t need as much touch as humans, so any stroking would have been for me not her.
As I sat next to her, watching her breathing and almost feeling her heartbeat, Opus lay down behind us – you can just see him in the background in the picture. Mr Blue came towards me and Kalle to see what we were doing, then he too lay down only 5 feet away. Tiffin was next to come in and stand watching over us. Horses tend to stand sentinel over those who are lying down. It manages the safety of the herd.
It was magical.
People tell me I am lucky to have this privilege. It’s true. I felt very blessed to sit in the field for 20 mins in between meetings. And yet, I also create my own luck. I chose in that moment to hang out with the herd. I had a million and one jobs I could have been doing and I’m often rushing around like a busy fool like most people but in that moment, I chose to take a break, to allow myself the privilege of chilling out. And I was rewarded for it.
What choices are you making?
Where are you missing out on luck because you are busy rushing around?
Luck is a funny thing. When people see success, they say “aren’t you lucky?” and whilst luck is certainly a part of it, hard graft goes into it too. What people don’t see are the moments when a young horse nearly body slams me through the office window (not one clients work with I hasten to add!), or me wading knee deep in mud or breaking the ice off a water trough with bare hands because I forgot to bring my gloves! There doesn’t feel like much luck in those moments!
Leadership is about the choices we make in any given moment. Those choices can move us towards success or it can move us away. Sometimes we have to make the hard choices to get the results.
Running a business is the hardest job I’ve ever done but it’s also the most rewarding. When I see the magic on people’s faces when they’ve uncovered some extraordinary insight about their leadership, I know the hard work is worth the effort. When I get emails from people telling me that everything has changed for them, that they feel more confident, or have resolved conflict that has been going on for years, that feels like success.
Over Christmas, I’ve given our yard manager four days off which means I’ll be feeding horses twice a day for four days. It’s another leadership choice. I’m happy to do it knowing how hard my yard manager works the rest of the year. My family are hugely supportive and I’m really grateful to them for that.
As I reflect back on the ups and downs of 2016, I know that I’ve made some tough choices, overcome some challenges, felt
derailed by others. Those are the ups and downs of leadership, where we step out of the comfort zone and dare to lead, in the hope that some magical moment will come along and take our breath away.
Don’t miss it when it does!
I’m about to leave the warmth of my home office to head out into the cold to feed the horses before dark. It’s another leadership choice and right now, I feel like the luckiest person alive.