To Be Present, Patient and Persistent – How Horses Can Teach You How to Be a Great Leader

“The horse is a mirror of the handler”, he told me. That got me thinking. If my horse should be a mirror of me, then it should be nice. However, I did not like what I saw. She was dominant, lazy, aggressive, and ignorant and she was eating too much. Well, I was not eating too much, but I was not teachable and in my life, it was either my way or the highway. I am a leader of a great organization in a very big company, I am used to be somewhat dominant, and setting the standpoints on which other people should follow. However, sometimes I experienced that the people I was working with did not like the way I was teaching. I was telling people what to do and not thinking of what could be their motivation or thinking about their point of view.

I found that the young man who taught me about my horse’s behavior also has an educational center where he teaches people the natural principles of love, language and leadership and understanding the horse’s point of view, so you can better help the horse to understand what it is that you want. “Imagine what that approach could do in Humans-Ville!” I started training with this person and soon I found that I was the one who needed to change, not my horse. He was right the horse is truly a mirror of me and how I feel and act inside.

First, I had to learn to be teachable and that was not easy. I had to learn to be humble in order to put the horse first instead of my wants. The horse showed me all my weaknesses and my strengths. Then I had to learn to be Present. If I was not present, I could get hurt and I did. Too many people live in their pasts or in their future. Nevertheless, the real key to happiness and living a fulfilling life lies in the present and the horses truly taught me that. The time is flying and we have a great time once we are present and enjoying ourselves. One way I learned to be present, was that every time I had a negative thought, I should recognize my thought and then focus on what sounds I could hear, the colors around me, the chair I was sitting on or focus on my horse if I was with her. Staying in the present moment is one of the best ways to change your future. It helps you create more of what you really enjoy and isn’t that what life is all about? Having fun and enjoying ourselves?

Another thing, the horses taught me, was to be patient. Again, in my professional life, I usually had only a little patience with people who did not do what they said they would do or they did not understand what I wanted the first time I explained something. So, the way I learned to have patience was that I had to give the horse time to understand what I wanted it to do. Then I had to give the horse time and responsibility to figure out how to do it. That REALLY takes a lot of patience, but it truly pays off in everything else you do. Today I use the same technique when raising my children. I give them a “job” and the responsibility to do that “job” and then they need the time to figure it out for themselves. It gives them more motivation and it gives them a better self-esteem and self-worth. And I noticed that by doing that both my horse and my children started to offer more and they even began taking more responsibility.

But it does take some time. Especially in the beginning so as a side effect I had to learn the power of persistence. The horses are very good teachers when it comes to that subject. They are true masters in this field and they can out-persist you any day if you are not aware. They are dependent on this ability in order to survive in nature. Imagine a Zebra who does not persist on a lion. Before I learned to be persistent, I gave up even before giving my horse the chance so then I began micromanaging the horse and not trusting that the horse would figure it out. That was really a mirror of me. I was the type of person, which gave people assignments and then said that it was a lot easier and faster if I did it myself. So I did not really trust that they would do it well enough or fast enough. Try to imagine what persistence will do to your life. What if you persisted just a little bit longer on that goal? What if you persisted just a little bit longer on getting the relationship right? What if you did not give up on other people or yourself and persisted just a little bit longer? Imagine what positive changes could occur in your life.

I found the same with goal setting. I learned to set goals, to focus on my goal but to stay and enjoy the present moment. Before, I sat a goal, and if I didn’t get it within a short period of time I got impatient and I was not giving it enough time to unfold. What happened was that I only got a few of my short term goals manifested. With the long term goals, I am still working on my patience, being persistent and staying in the present moment.

These are very profound qualities that good leaders also have. And my horses are now teaching me to be a great leader with both horses and humans. So if you have a horse you have one of the greatest teachers close to you.