SLDP: Horses & Golf

406 thrive! Golf Team
406 thrive! Golf Team

SLDP, my Summer Leadership Development Program. You may be wondering what do horses and golf have to do with leadership. Well, I am beginning to think quite a lot.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am currently engaged in an Equus Coach Training program with Koelle Simpson.  As a result, I am spending many hours getting to know horses.  They are amazing teachers, especially when it comes to leadership.  Horses simply wouldn’t follow a leader unless that leader is congruent and clear.  They have a very high BS meter (yes – I mean bull sh*t!).  If I am pretending or incongruent, they read it, and quickly move away or simply ignore any efforts I make to take control.

Seriously, they pick up my emotions much faster than I do!

Currently my work with the horses is mostly mucking stalls, going and bringing a horse in for a vet visit, or walking a horse from the pasture into a coral for a training session.  These probably seem like very simple tasks.  However, when it’s a 1000 pound animal, and they really don’t have to do anything I request, it quickly becomes about my leadership.  Plus, when I watch people with their horses, it’s amazing what there is to learn about their leadership style.

The key with the horses is developing a strong sense of self, and being willing to be clear, and committed to translating that direction to the horse.  Not through force, but through clear signals, and solid presence.  These are major keys to any type of effective leadership!

Then there’s golf.  This is year two for our 406Thrive golf team in the Whitefish Lake Ladies Golf League. This year our team has moved out of being ‘firmly in last place.’  We may return to last place, but we have been riding a solid start!

However, the lessons in golf aren’t as much about teamwork as they are about doing the inner work to stay engaged, even when I am way off the fairway, or I am whacking my third sand shot.

I started this team, and invited folks to join based on having a fun competitive experience learning golf, and playing regularly together.  When I’m overly focused on my game, and struggling to recover from a bad hole, it is easy to forget the bigger vision.  It seems I am no longer satisfied by simply finishing a round or finishing ‘firmly in last place.’  No, I expect more.  I want to par a couple holes.  I want to have a better short game, and not three putt a hole.  I want our team to play well, and win a few matches.  However, all that desire to do my best, and have our team finish strong, so easily results in getting tight when it’s not happening as easily or effortlessly as I think it should!

Now, isn’t that like leadership!  Wanting great results and having to live through the pain of learning, making mistakes, and recovering.  OMG – golf is all about that!

So my summer is focused on leadership, be it relating to the horses or whacking my way out of a sand trap!!