The Power of Vision
"Without vision, the people perish" Proverbs 29:18. Seeing this on a pulpit in an ornate church in Remuera has stuck with me. I am not religious per say. But I am fascinated with the power of faith. There is as much in the bible as there is in the The Secret that is powerful if you care to take a read.
Alice in Wonderland is caught up in a web, she is unhappy about where she was, and goes on an adventure to find herself... but the cat, speaks the truth also, if you don't know where you are going, then either way is right.
Vision is the key, even if you are not completely clear about the details of the destination. Like a google map, if you don't have an idea about where you want to go along way away from where you are now, then how can you take the first few streets/steps to move you away from where you are now?
I currently lead two teams right now. The first team, my family team. Yesterday in the mix of my first road ride with Boy, 3 hours later, his head and mine were a little fried as well as my body wanting to give up. I questioned myself, can I walk at this stage? Or is the swelling in my knee way beyond that capacity? Yet, I was also questioning what did my horse need? Can it cope with being ridden for much longer and following Oliver on his older horse. That would depend upon whether or not Oliver was sympathetic to my horses needs. Was he a mature enough leader to flex?
He could see home, so easily in his sight, his bones and body were sore and his horse eager to get home. What he could not see was how much Boy and I were struggling, struggling to keep it together. He also could not see that in the instant that I asked for help, he could not see that my horse was shying and anxious about the beehives that he had passed. Without seeing them, because his horse hadn't flinched at everything it had seen along the way, and he had not seen the bees or heard the noise of the bees, that were sending Boy over the top. To his edge. He couldn't do it anymore, he was pressed hard against the 7 wire fence. There was no more room for him to get away. (This horse has reared up to the point of falling over, spun or jumped so far sideways, that he could likely end up in this fence) When a horse is not focused on where he is, danger can ensue. We have to be respectful of this, I have seen horses fall down a bank to their death, get caught up in wire, simply because they are i
n panic about what may be rather than where they are.
I cried out for help, Oliver angrily replied, kick your horse. He just thought that my horse was objecting to going forward. I could not tell him in that moment, you cannot see what I can see. I did try, but, it was obvious he could not see it. He could just see that I was delaying him getting home and prolonging the pain he was in. Understandable when you see it like that. He is in pain, how can he see my pain?
Often we ask people to be empathetic to our pain, when we are incapable of being empathetic to their pain.
As a leader, you have to stop, watch and listen.
He did not want to see... I had to make my own decision to get out of the place of panic. I jumped off. My horse, leapt sideways. I then led him away from danger. Limping majorly, my leg was stiff and stuck in position.
In that moment, I could not explain to Oliver what I needed him to know.
Because my vision for this horse is way larger than this road ride. The trust that he will have with me, will enable us to ride and compete way farther than get through a road ride together.
In the long line of vision, this road ride is an obstacle a gate way. That is not as big and important as the end game. This is key in vision. Do not try to win the whole game in one swoop.
For me, the vision with Boy is to have a horse forever, that I feel safe on, that I can take to anything, any event and he will perform and we will have fun. My vision is to be able to compete and jump at high levels or if I can't that Oliver can.
Either way, I know that I and Oliver will be competing and riding this horse over 130cm jumps minimum. I am playing the long game. That is vision.
You do not overface a horse, why, because you put it into the panic zone, you remove it's trust in you. I love how Briar Woolley (our consistent coach) says, let's do a low, easy jump last, so we end on the horse saying, that was super easy and simple. It is the same with children, staff or anyone that you lead. Let them feel that being successful was easy and simple. That they want to engage again. I have seen business owners continue to take advantage of my young lads tenacity. And take advantage of what I offer them. And I have also seen bosses or people who offer the boys work, really value the boys and the difference in what happens. You see, I refuse to be treated badly because someone pays me or my sons. And I refuse to be treated badly because I am benefiting from an organisation. When people forget to treat you as a contributing member, then they have forgotten some simple rules. It does not matter how much you pay someone, if that work is not valued, then it is highly unlikely that they will want to give you 100% of themselves. The same with the horse, it does not care that you feed it, offer it opportunities of better feed or not. It will give you 100% if it trusts you, it will give you 100% or more if you consistently listen to it and respect it's work ethic.
That being with you on this journey is a great place to be. Then it is easy to see how the other leadership challenge from Kouzes and Posner is Encourage the Heart. This part is about celebrating success. Thank people for their part in it. Personally. They made it happen. When we work with our horses, our children, we have to encourage the heart. That heart effort is worth way more than 100%, it is when I see horses give 120% or more. Joy, gives the boys her all and she gives me her all. All 4 of our horses give me their all. Because I have been with them on the ground through thick and thin. I let the boys feed the horses, because it is one of those things that says they are the ones who bring them the feed. Not just me.
Today, Oliver said Joy has been head tossing and unhappy in her body, we need the Osteo for her. I said, okay I hear you and called Christophe Pallies (the bodyworker god) but then I said, well, let's have a look at her this morning. Get her in and ride her. She was obliging and solid. So I was like, well she is fine. He said, but we should take her outside of the arena and you will see, she will be awful. I said, let's not. If she is okay inside the arena, actually she was more than okay, she was rounded and happy and moving freely, then, let's us keep her successful and happy in this space. There is no hurry. We don't need to push her to the brink, we don't need to push her to be proven right that she is not happy and she is being naughty. We need to prove that she is okay, that she is successful, right?
To do that we have to drop our ego, we have to let go of our expectations in this moment, don't we?
Making others wrong, is not about how we are right!
Even if it is a horse, who cannot defend itself.
Play the long game, understand that things will go forward and backward, up and down. It is never a straight line.
Do consider it is you, have you got caught up in the gateway and forgotten the long game. Day to day stuff is not inspiring, it can really cut you up even hurt you and push you backwards. Someone has to remind you why you are here doing what you are doing on a day to day basis. That there is a larger picture in all of this. That your small actions will keep moving you towards the larger possibility.
Do you know where you are going, do you have a goal. Have you got others who are inspired and share your vision. If you do, that is all you need.
Keep going, you cannot give up now.
What is your vision? You know you can change it since Covid 19 hit, you can change your vision - change it to what makes your eyes shine and others around you. Change your vision into what will make you happy.