The danger of riding two horses at once is that you can easily get split in half! To ride two horses at once, not only must the rider must be skilled, but both horses must be in controlled and must be comfortable running next to each other... in tandem.
Like a horse and its rider, we all have needs that must be met if we are to maintain the wealth of health. First, we must care for our “self.” The self is our idea of who we are and our idea of our body and its needs. In essence, these needs are:
- Optimal food
- Optimal water
- Optimal rest
- Optimal movement or exercise
- Safe shelter
- Optimal warmth (energy)
These needs are also the needs of a business, which must be seen as a living entity if one is to be successful in the development, management and growth of any business. The same is true for those working within a business, for they either create safety and security in a business or diminish it.
If we look at these needs as they apply to a business, they convert as follows:
- Optimal availability and use of resources
- Optimal flow (incoming and outgoing of resources and the ability to adapt)
- Optimal work/rest ratio to keep ownership, management and staff healthy
- Optimal use of effort and skill within the business and marketing of the business
- Enhanced stability within owners and employees (which creates stability of the business)
- Consistent cash flow, working capital and revenue
Would it be a good idea to try and ride two horses, before you’ve mastered riding one?
The first horse we need to learn to ride is the horse of self. Only when we’ve achieved a level of self love and self awareness that produces a surplus of life force and internal resources are we ever likely to have what it takes to energize a business endeavor.
Anyone with experience riding horses knows that an unhealthy horse doesn’t like anyone on its back! An unhealthy horse is a dangerous horse to ride and is potentially risky to be around. It would be a mistake to hitch a sick horse to a wagon or a plow. To do so increases the likelihood of not getting the hay in before it rains, not preparing the fields for new crops, etc. Forcing a sick horse to be productive may actually kill it!
I repeatedly find myself coaching sick, tired and burned out people who own businesses and who manage staff. When I look into my clients' lives (how they manage themselves), it is obvious they don’t know how to care for the (animal) body. Yet, they work earnestly to care for and improve a second horse.
When we care for ourselves intelligently, we manage our lifestyle such that it creates inner wealth, abundant energy and a genuine sense of freedom. These are necessary qualities for success in any endeavor. A healthy body is a prerequisite for a healthy mind. No business owner, manger or employee can create a healthy business without a healthy mind! Each horse (self and business) has needs. However, it is the horse of “self” that feeds the horse of business every time. When we come to work tired, poorly fed, dehydrated, lacking sleep, rest or non essential (play) time, we are far more likely to find ourselves repelled or repulsed by people and the challenges natural to any business. This is burnout.
The horse (body) is a strong animal. Yet, managed gently by instinct and intelligence (mind), the horse responds gracefully to its rider’s cues. This is a healthy partnership. Managed poorly, the horse is pained and may throw you off (addiction, obesity and diseases)!
Now, let’s take a look at the two horses. One horse represents the horse of “self” or the female part of you. She needs the rest (moisture), energy (movement) and (self) time to create a nurturing home environment in which she may cultivate the necessary life force to feed and manage the second horse, which is the natural complement in a personal/professional relationship. The second horse represents the male part of you, which is expansive, logical, constructive, warming, divisional and self expressive. If the female (horse of self) is overworked, under rested, poorly fed, inadequately watered or lacks safety and security, she dries out, and the male (horse of self) has to over compensate in order to create balance. The rider then has a very hard time controlling and working the horses.
Likewise, when we come to work, it is our function to foster partnerships with both staff and customer. Yet, if one shows up depleted, dried out as a prune (you certainly can’t re-create a plum), things cannot flow. By the very laws of nature, dryness absorbs moisture around it. This means that a problematic paradox emerges. Those that are burned out and who should be managing and maintaining their business avoid their employees and don’t connect with their customers. They begin drawing precious, vital energy, moisture (flow) out of the business, their employees and their customers... not a sign of health, is it?
What does this look like? We have all seen it:
- Physicians who are more unhealthy than their patients.
- Teachers who resent their students.
- Firemen who can’t hold the hose or carry victims down the ladder to safety.
- Policemen too fat to run after a bad guy.
- Business owners who isolate themselves through preservation and who become unwilling and uninterested in meeting the needs of staff and customers.
- Personal rainers who look and feel worse than their clients.
In order to ride two horses at once, each horse must be healthy and feel safe with the rider. If this does not happen, any other horse is a potential threat to it’s safety, resources become limited and survival behavior leads to over investment in self (one horse sees the other as a threat to it’s own survival). A sick horse is a liability!
The rider must have mastery riding one horse before attempting to ride two horses, or disaster is inevitable. Each horse must have a common tandem objective, or the rider will become split in half! Each horse must be felt and seen as an extension of “self” and cared for as such. Anything else leads to one horse feeling abandoned, even though the other is standing right next to it. Any horse that feels deserted is unlikely to comply with the wishes or direction of the rider or the other horse. Abandonment creates a sense of absence: there but not there. Each must be groomed, cared for and treated as a unique individual. Two healthy halves equal a strong and healthy whole. You and you become one: two horses working as a functional unit sharing the load.
I encourage you to bring your horses together in harmony with clearly defined core values, goals and objectives. When we do this, we successfully ride two horses at once. One who successfully rides two horses at once enjoys more than double the satisfaction, safety and security and joy of working together in tandem. The whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts. When we ride two horses together successfully, each horse has the satisfaction and joy of companionship from the other. And we more than double our horsepower!
My dream for all of us working together is that we all ride safely in harmony with both our individual and professional goals and overcome the challenges of balancing self and business. My success is your success, and your success is my success. The world benefits greatly when we come together in love and synergy. To do this, we must cultivate our instincts, feed our intellect and ultimately nurture our relationships with self and other. The rest is natural and easy. Then we will ride two horses at once!
Photo Credit: R. Michael Tonnesen, www.adirondackminute.com