Never Let Them See You Sweat!

5 11 2013

I had ridden Rhythm, a 14 year old majestic Morgan horse, a few times before this recent visit to the barn.  Though today was going to be different. I was on my own.  For the first time, my riding instructor was not by my side.  I was confident.  As I lead Rhythm from the barn and to the riding arena I believed Rhythm and I were in sync.  It was going to be a great ride.

Sessel and Rhythm

 As I entered the ring, I glanced over my shoulder and noticed the only noise was of the wind rustling the colorful Fall leaves.  I prepared to step into the stirrups and sit in the saddle.  I took one more look around.  I was truly on my own.  Thoughts flashed through my head.  Is it smart to be riding alone?  Can I really handle this horse?  I mounted the saddle and settled in.  Now, I was nervous.  As I moved the reins into position, I thought this may not be such a great idea.  Just one guy sitting on top of a thousand pound horse ready to run!  I felt a bead of perspiration role down my brow. My hands shook.  As I eased Rhythm into a walk, his head shot up with excitement.  Was he nervous too?  Clearly this wasn’t going to be a nice walk around the ring that I had envisioned.

Rhythm sensed I was nervous, and he became jittery too.  We were heading towards the fence.  I had to pull him into a quick turn to keep us from hitting the fence.  I was breathing faster, and we tried again.  I knew I needed to calm down, however I couldn’t summon the “calm” I needed.  Once more Rhythm fought to run, then side to side he strained against my lead.  Rhythm stopped and I dismounted.  No way was this safe.  Defeated I took Rhythm back to the barn.

During my drive home, I reflected on my failed ride.   When I was calm, Rhythm was calm.  When I got nervous,  Rhythm got nervous.  Clearly I needed to pull my nerves under control.   Rhythm was sure that a nervous rider was on board.  And following my lead like all great horses do, he became nervous and tense himself.  As I turned into my garage, I realized this lesson in leadership applied to all that I do.

Just like our majestic horse, Rhythm, the great people I lead respond to my every emotion.  A leader has to be cool under pressure, calm during a crises, and energized to succeed against all forces all the time.  Your team will derive it’s strength from your demeanor, energy and enthusiasm for your strategic mission. You must control your nerves and emotions.  If you portray panic and fear, then they will wither like their leader and spread the negativity throughout the team.  So, to keep your team inspired and driving towards success, never let them see you sweat!

Tips for keeping calm in the storm:

  1. Daily am exercise!  Sound body, sound mind.
  2. Leave your home life at home.
  3. Play your favorite “pump up” tune during the last 5 minutes of your commute.
  4. Before you walk in the office tell yourself, “It’s show time baby!”
  5. Greet everyone with a smile and a vibrant “Good morning!”
  6. While at work, find a quiet place to regain composure if the pressure is mounting and refer to #4.

Let me know how it goes.

This Post was written by Mark Sessel, President/CEO of PFP

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9 responses

5 11 2013
Lilian Druve

What a Beauty…!

5 11 2013
Laura Mulligan

This is a great story and it has moved me to take account of myself. Am I always calm, cool and collected? I certainly will be thinking about this! We must always be good role models to those around us and this story helps us remember that. Thanks!

5 11 2013
Frank Taddeo

Well said at PFP it’s always “show time baby”

5 11 2013
Harold Holmes

Great story and lesson for all to take from. Mark, what a true testament to leadership. For all of us who have known you, you are a shinning example of true leadership and what it entails. Thank You… Thank you… For sharing a powerful testimony on leadership.

5 11 2013
Liz Crowley

Great story to use in the sales field

5 11 2013
Susan Cohen

Mark….what a great story and an excellent reminder that when frustrations arise, just take a deep breath and start again! Show time!

5 11 2013
Kimberly Young

Thank you for these important reminders Mark!

….NEVER let ’em see you sweat!
….and it’s ALWAYS show time baby!

Looking forward to sharing your message with our team!

5 11 2013
Ann Gaujean

Great Story..Mark..Well said..!

7 11 2013
Leslie Russell

Hi Mark! I love this story.
What strikes me about this story is the “authenticity” of your experience that makes YOU a great leader!!…feeling the fear and doing it anyway, shifting gears, thinking on your feet and knowing when to shift direction……facing challenges head on… being deeply authentic is great leadership…like David HaMelech…Blessings&laughter, Esther Rachel (Leslie)

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