Whether you are an entrepreneur, executive, or a mom, your leadership is essential to ignite positive change in your tribe.
For some women, leading is a second nature. For others it can be challenging, frustrating and, when things don't flow, downright irritating. Sounds familiar?
Read on to learn how interacting with horses helps you grow your leadership skills.
1. Horses spill the beans on how your tribe perceives you
A horse doesn't care if you drive the latest BMW or wear a fancy suit. A horse is not impressed by your bank account, or by your title. A horse does not follow your lead based on what you own or what you make. He does not lie, cheat, deceive. A horse follows only if he recognizes there is an authentic willingness deep inside you to design win-wins.
2. A horse knows its boundaries, and checks if you know yours too
How many times do we say 'yes' when we mean 'no'? How often to we give in, only to regret it later? How do we step up to protect our boundaries when they get challenged by our tribe? And what does it take to protect a boundary, and what methods and strategies are appropriate and required? While horses lack spoken language they have neither issue understanding your boundaries nor establishing boundaries of their own. Effortlessly they utilize their bodies to communicate both acceptance and dissatisfaction, without getting tangled in excessive emotions. Studying their ways offers profound insight in how we too can utilize our bodies, minds and souls to set and protect boundaries without compromise.
3. Horses teach you about patterns
We all have developed habitual patterns of behavior. We are triggered to respond in certain ways. When dealing with dilemmas, we prefer certain approaches over others, even if they are ineffective. These automatic responses are based on past experiences and if they work well for us, we are lucky gals. However, sometimes they are outdated and in need of upgrading. Horses are master observers; they watch our habits and act upon them, helping us reflect and grow.
4. Horses teach you not to rely on assumptions
While working as a business consultant in Europe, our project leader loved the phrase 'Assumption is the mother of all f#ck ups." He used it almost daily to emphasize the importance of finding clarity, foundation and proof for our claims, and identify the root cause of issues for a deep analysis of the truth. Only when you deal with truth, and nothing but truth, you can begin to build solutions that truly address the issue at hand. However, often we are stuck with assumptions in our head. Assumptions about our own abilities. Assumptions about behavioral patterns of the people we work with and so forth. When you work with horses, and specifically when you reflect upon that work, you open up unique opportunities to go to root causes of what's happening, address it and experiment again, without horses holding a grudge for life for your mistakes.
5. A horse knows when to lead, when to follow and when to partner
There is a time to lead, to partner and to follow. But sometimes pride gets in the way and we get stuck in a mindset of how things should be, rather than focusing on what is. Horses can't afford to get stuck. They show us how to defer leadership to a more skillful individual, how to partner to solve problems and how to get all noses in the same direction when you are the most equipped leader in the room.
6. A horse teaches you to tailor your leadership approach to the individual
Each person is different. Each horse is different. And each entity needs a slightly modified version of leadership. Some like gentle encouragement. Some like straight, transparent challenges. And yet others blossom through lots of reward. If you really want to bring out the best in your tribe, you'll need flexible leadership. When interacting with horses, you'll find that some need you to be extremely clear, for if you are not, your message does not come across. Other horses need you to be extremely subtle, for if you are not, they are too intimidated to follow you. And yet others need you to be playful, joyful, for if you are not, they get bored and quit. The horses' responses help you heighten your understanding of your own flexibility and allow you to develop strategies that take the best of what you've got and combine it with solid knowledge to bring out the best in your tribe as well.
7. A horse grows your understanding of the importance of interdependence
Horses are herd animals. And while some of us love being alone, it's in our genes to find social connection, based upon a deep seated understanding that together we can move mountains. Horses show you the importance of interdependence; the idea that while you are strong when you are alone, you are even stronger when partnering with other strong women. And when that happens, when you sync up, watch out world, you'll never be the same. Horses understand that there is safety and power in a herd, and will generally flock together, especially when there are threats on the horizon. Horses teach you that no matter your penchant for bravery, courage and leadership, there is a time where you need a partner who is there for you, to help you, support you and stimulate you, and move that mountain, together.
Be The Best Leader You Can Be.
Horses are masters of reading genuine emotions and offer non-biased mirroring how we appear to the world. Interaction with horses at liberty allows discovery of newfound insights regarding your habits, your assumptions, your strengths and your opportunities in a gentle, heartfelt experiential way. The intuition, empathy and honesty of horses make learning exactly what it needs to be for each individual; uplifting, challenging or comforting. They provide you the clarity and wisdom you seek to grow your skillset. Watch it, understand it and utilize it. Become the best leader you can be and ignite positive change in your world.
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"We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails." - Dolly Parton