I did not want a baby horse. I needed a baby horse.
Here’s why you or your business (metaphorically) needs one too.
It’s easy to get comfortable with the familiar. This year marks 10 years of owning Bella. She was the one who got me back into horses. She also helped me realize that I needed to improve how I processed workplace relationships and stress. When a cloud of negativity or tension from the office followed me to the barn, the manifestation of stress I failed to see in myself emerged in her behavior.
In our time together, we deepened our relationship and tried new activities. But we also grew stagnant; we languished, as Adam Grant describes in this TedTalk Stop Languishing and Start Finding Flow.
Enter Leroy, an untrained 2-year-old. He helped me find my flow personally and professionally.
So, while I did not want a baby horse, it turns out I needed Leroy, and here’s why you (metaphorically) need a baby horse too.
He brings curiosity to the task at hand.
Everything is a new, fresh possibility. Leroy doesn’t respond, “because we’ve always done it this way.”
Instead, he looks to understand and pushes me to consider new approaches in training toward our goal.
In our professional lives, deadlines, routines, and processes are necessary. They keep (us) and our teams on track. They give us boundaries and guide rails to streamline work.
However, we can also take for granted the known or the comfortable. New staff members bring a fresh perspective that can lead to efficiencies, creative solutions for growth, and discover the possibilities when we experience something for the first time.
He’s helped me realize it was time to change up the team.
I’ve known Bella has achieved her fullest potential in our desired sport and doesn’t have what it takes to advance. But I haven’t wanted to admit it was time for a change.
During interviews with multiple CEOs for workplace-related articles this year, I heard a common theme emerge. There is a cost to the rest of the team and workplace culture when a person isn’t the right fit.
For example, one source confided, “a client I was coaching told me their best employees said ‘thank you’ after another staff member was terminated. The business owner also felt the release and wondered aloud why they had waited so long.”
Professional development and new roles are often the first steps. So far, putting Bella into a new role as a coaching partner and mamma (her foal is due in March!) has worked well for us. But I have to remain open to the fact that there may come a time that requires selling her to find a position where she can thrive.
He has reminded me of the 40/70 rule.
To paraphrase former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s rule, if we feel like we’re 40% of the way to “done,” we’re ready to launch. But, on the other hand, if we feel like we’re 70% complete, we’ve probably waited too long. With Leroy, that means finding the courage to expose him to situations he may not be proficient in so he can learn and develop.
As leaders, we strive for perfection in launching new products and services or introducing new processes to the team. We obsess over getting it “just right.”
I struggle with this all the time, especially since introducing horse-assisted and traditional coaching services as part of my business.
But I’ve forged ahead even when I’ve felt (less) than 40% prepared. I’ve found that participants are excited to engage, and each offers a learning opportunity that has pushed me to drive that percentage up each time.
So, here’s my challenge: How can a “baby horse” help you in your work?