I watched a great programme on iplayer last night about Buck Brannaman, a real life horse whisperer and the guy who made Robert Redford’s film, The Horse Whisperer, believable.
What struck me most about the programme, was not his work with the horses, amazing at that was, but rather how much the two-legged participants learned, about themselves, and about their relationships with others. Lessons for life which also work well for those of us who serve, lead or do business with People!
Lesson 1 How we treat others is a reflection of what’s going on for us.
On a day to day basis, the way we act, the things we say, the stance we take…is always entirely down to what’s going on inside our head…and has nothing whatsoever to do with the other person. No one can ‘make me‘ angry or frustrated, anymore than they can ‘make me’ happy. Happy or sad, calm or angry…miserable or fun…it’s down to us, not someone else…even though it may always want to believe that it is.
‘The horse is a mirror to your soul. Sometimes you may not like what you see in the mirror. Sometimes you will’ BB
Lesson 2 Gentle Persuasion delivers the long-term win.
Whether you’re a horse or a human, you are far more likely to respond positively to something that you have been persuaded is good for you, than something you have been bullied into.
For me it’s about ‘selling ideas’ whether that’s to your horse, your customers or your team…persuading them of the benefits, helping them to see what’s in it for them, giving them all of the information they need. Helping them to come to their own conclusion that they know, like, and trust you. Earning their respect rather than demanding it.
Maybe because I was always told that ‘self praise is no praise’ I personally shie away from those who blatantly self promote, and are constantly in your face all over the social media channels telling you how great they are. Sure, you’ve got to let people know what you do, that’s a given, but it’s equally important to let them know who you are and what you stand for. People who share your values are so much more likely to want to do business with you, and stay with you for the long-term. Just like a horse…it’s about making them want to follow you.
“Gentle in what you do, Firm in how you do it” BB
Lesson 3 Things that start out badly don’t have to end that way.
As a very young child, Buck was whipped by his drunken father on an almost daily basis. It was a miserable start to his life, but he didn’t allow it to make his life miserable.
All of us have stuff that we have to deal with in life and in business… relationships that go sour…projects that fail…customers that don’t pay. But as someone very wise once said to me…‘You’re not responsible or to blame for the hand you’ve been dealt…it’s how you play it that counts’.
There’s always a choice. There’s always a positive in every negative. The biggest failures will often, and have often led to the biggest successes.
“You can accomplish amazing things if you have a passion and you work hard – I just think it’s a cop out to say ‘I wasn’t born with this, so it’s OK if I fail’. You can make up the difference with hard work and devotion.” BB
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