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Business Lessons in Unlikely Places

wisdom from our equine friends

 

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I used to board my horse at a stable about 10 minutes from my house.  I’d drive out once or twice per week to go on a trail ride and hang out with the other boarders there.  It was a great time.  And it was the first place I found when I decided to learn to ride, right before I turned 30.  In so many ways it felt like home.  But as time passed, as humans tend to do, I started dreaming of more…

I wanted property where my horses could be with me all the time.  I longed to look out my front window and see them there, munching away on the green grass.  I dreamed I would go out in the field just to sit and spend time with them – more connection, lots of love.

Before too long, the dream of property actually came true.  My family and I moved out to a cute little farm, and soon after we got a fence up, my horses came too.  For the first few months, I had a lot of fun.  Even heading out just to groom them or check their feet was fun.  Putting their grain out every day was a treat.

There was just one problem that started to creep in as the novelty of our new home began to wear off.  I was all by myself.  The daily care and keeping of my horses became chores.  All of the riding and hanging out I’d spent so much time dreaming of became an afterthought.  And as I wasn’t spending the time with my horses that I truly wanted to spend, I felt all weird and out of integrity (and I hate that feeling!).

It ate at me for months.  MONTHS.

Until I finally decided to do something about it.  I moved my pony to my mom’s farm (turns out they’re in love with Peaches the pony!), and I moved my riding horse, Takota, to a boarding facility that is close to my trainer.  At first, I was a bit afraid of what people would think… that maybe horse ownership wasn’t for me, or that I wasn’t capable of doing it on my own (heaven forbid!).  After all, I had my own property where I could keep them, but I’m paying to have them stay elsewhere.

But as time has passed, this new idea is really sinking in.  I’ve always “known” it, and I’ve even said it to friends and clients, but I think it’s really, truly landing with me now:

“It’s always better when we’re together.” – Jack Johnson

At the new boarding facility, when I go to see my horse, I get to say hi to the owner and any other boarders who may be moseying around.  I meet my (amazing) trainer once a week for a lesson.  Having these other people around to chat with or ask a question is way better than I expected.  Plus, horses are big animals, and danger is inherent in working with them.  So having others around also feels safer.  On top of that, the new place is small as far as barns go, so I still have some of that intimate feeling that I craved back when I first wanted my own property.  It’s a win-win.  

I’ve talked before about the possibilities that pop up when we let go of the idea that things have to be black or white, all or nothing.  And layer this idea on top, that most things are better when we get to do them with other people… it’s a recipe for more connection, more fun, more happiness.  Even for an introvert like me who talks herself into thinking that alone is the way to go most of the time.  

It makes me think about how horses like to live, too.  They’re herd animals.  Safety in numbers.  In the wild, if they’re alone, they’re much less likely to survive.  They rely on each other, and they thrive when they stick together.

Huh.  Always a lesson to learn from these amazing animals.  

The lesson can, of course, be applied to business ownership, too.  The times I’ve tried to go it alone on my self-employment journey have been… bleak to say the least.  At the dance studio, having amazing staff on hand makes everything better.  There are lots of minds working together to come up with new ideas and then lots of help implementing them.  Even in my coaching practice, I have friends to call on, coaches on hire, other business women I look to for advice.  No matter what, I’m leaning on others and even providing support and encouragement in return.  

Reciprocity.  Connection.  Community.  

As women in the western world, most of us have been raised to be independent.  Asking for help is often seen as a weakness at worst and a bother at best.  Then there’s the old saying that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself, right?

I’m on a mission to change my thinking around this.  I want to offer help to others and also receive it in return.  I want to nurture the different communities I’m part of (and put my damn phone down sometimes).  I’m pining after an even more interconnected life and business.  

“Devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you meaning and purpose.” – Mitch Albom

And isn’t that what we’re all after?  

If you want to join my little online community, you can stick your name and email in the box down below.  I’d love to have you.  Or let me know in the comments how you’re feeling about the sense of community you have in your local life right now.  Are you a part of a thriving group?  Or do you want/need more connection?  How can you create that for yourself?    

1 Comment
  1. Whitney Ryan says:

    First off, love that Jack Johnson quote!

    Second, LOVE this post! It’s so true — we spend our days in little entrepreneurial bubbles behind our laptop screens. And that can be nice for us introverts…but after a while, you can definitely feel (and miss) that human connection.

    I tend to be a very black-and-white person too. So this reminder that there’s happiness in the gray is very apt! I would have felt the same fear of judgment in regards to your horses, even though it sounds like it was the best decision for all people involved. This is an awesome reminder to stop making things so complicated and just go after what feels right.

    Thanks for the great story, Hannah! xx

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Join the family,

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