Photo by Philippe Oursel on Unsplash
Starting a new entrepreneurial venture, a business, a social enterprise, a non-profit, or a congregation requires developing new skills. We acquire them in the time-honored manner, the way we might climb on a horse or a bicycle for the first time.
It is frightening; it is intimidating; it is full of uncertainty.
But it can be done. People do it every day.
Everything that now is, once was not.
How to Ride a Horse
Back in 2007, I found a great article on the net by C Cunning, simple, readable, and accurate on how to ride a horse.
Why would I search for such a thing?
I was just going over some of my business affiliations in my databases yesterday and it occurred to me that I had way too many. I need to narrow the field and concentrate on a few things during the limited amount of time I allow myself away from ministry, family, and writing to dabble in business.
You can't ride too many horses in a day.
The last real horse I tried to get on buckled under my weight. I knew then that it really mattered which horse I chose to ride.
A good horse can take you to success, but you must pick the right horse for you and ride it well. There are some excellent horses (business opportunities) out there for average people, but not all of them are right for you. I enjoy evaluating many of them, but I can only do a few of them well.
What is yours? In order to answer that question, you need to develop an understanding of your own passions, strengths, and interests as well as the resources you bring to the table.
If there is any interest in this subject, I will keep writing about it for the next few days.
Know this: There is a horse out there with your name on it and you can learn to ride it well. You may need to look around the stable a bit, but you will find the right opportunity. You can do it.
How to Ride a Horse - A REAL Horse
The writer, firstname.lastname@example.org laid it all out.
The authors says, "you never know when you might find a time when you are for one reason or another on the back of a horse."
That is so right. no matter what our intentions might be starting out, we might find ourselves in a place or on a mode of transportation that cannot be accounted for by our own manipulative efforts.
He/She says we need to take seven things into account: proper attire, proper position, basic control, actually riding, stopping, and getting off.
I don't know what attire you might need in your business, ministry, or other project, but you need to know. Then you need to secure it and wear it. that includes actual clothing and accessories and the ethereal clothing of proper attitude, demeanor, and vocabulary. Read what needs to be read. Listen to what is being taught. Wrap yourself in the attire of good preparation.
Always be preparing for whatever is next.
Job 29:14 says,
"I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; My justice was like a robe and a turban."
Whatever it takes, put it on.
Getting on the right way is vital because first impressions with horses and people tend to last. Horses will buck us and so will people. The advice to try not to kick the horse is quite transferable. Good starts are more valuable than many, many restarts.
It is vital for the horse rider to acquire the proper position of the horse and it is equally vital for the business rider to position himself/herself as well within the organization, with colleagues, and with his or her support system. With horses, there are varying positions based upon riding style and the shape of the saddle. However, all require making necessary adjustments to equipment and with regard to our own bodies. So it is in business and projects. Adjustments are always necessary.
Basic control is an area of horse pedagogy that is affluent with rules. Most of these revolve around the issues of respect and communication. The rider must respect the horse not just as a vehicle, but as a living sentient being with feelings and inclinations. The rider must also establish effective give and take communication avenues and skills. How is that different than working with people in an organization. Power "trips" don't work very well with horses or with people.
There are three general movements in actually riding the horse: walk, trot, and canter.
Walks are east for riders. With the proper posture and, at times, help, anyone can ride a walking horse. It is a good place to start and a wonderful place to spend most of our times.
Trots are more difficult. A trotting horse is impressive to watch with its two foot rough gait, but it is tough to ride. It is good for a show, but not the most comfortable for sustained activity.
Make of these what you like. Most of our business life is spent walking, being "found faithful," and moving forward a little bit at a time. Slow progress is the surest and often, the most satisfying, but there will be times of canter as well, interspersed by showy moments of trotting on stage to receive recognition and give thanks.
The canter is a time of increased speed The gait is rhythmic and the speed can be frightening and intimidating. It is a time of faith in the horse and in the process. Experienced rides and coaches teach us techniques for just riding with it and letting the horse carry us.
There will be all of these moments in your ventures and you need to learn how to ride them.
There will be times when you stop and you need to do these well and with class. The getting off is, according to the author, pretty much just the opposite of getting on. It just needs to be done well and with respect for the horse.
Whatever horse you choose, you need to learn and practice the skills specific to the horse and the riding style. You can do it.
About That Horse
So, you are trying to narrow your options with regard to a business opportunity or project and you are exploring various vehicles (horses) that will enable you to accomplish your goals.
Sometimes you can ride a horse with a limp and still get to where you are going.
For instance, a couple of years ago, I announced an acronym for the word "optimist" and just discovered, after publishing it, that I had spelled "optimive" instead. Now, as far as I know, there is no such word, but I still got the point across - unless no one was paying attention.
There is no perfect anything in this world or this life. Only God is perfect.
I chose the better of two options to fix the error. One was to invent a new word, which I seriously considered. The other was to change the words in the acronym to comply with the time-honored spelling and yet maintain the meaning of the lesson.
I chose the latter.
So, we are not looking for a perfect program or a flawless horse to ride. We are just looking for the one that is right for us at this time. I think I can spell H-O-R-S-E, but check me and let me know if I mess up.
My online friends have known for decades, that when it comes to speelink und tuping i sumtimes meke errers.
H - HEART
I have lots of H words that fit. You want a Healthy horse (company, program) which you will know by examining its History and by the Helpfulness of the people answering your questions. All of those "h"s will help you discover the HEART of the organization. You want to affiliate with a group whose heart is good and one that you can put your heart and soul into. Listen to your heart and examine the heart of the company for compatibility.
O - OPPORTUNE moment.
Is this the right time in your life for this affiliation and the right time in history for success with this organization. What does the market tell you? What are the futurists saying? look carefully for timing issues.
R - RIDE-ABILITY
Can this horse be ridden? That depends on the strength of the horse and the skill of the rider. If the rider has no skill, are there good trainers available? Is this something you can do or be helped to do? What strengths lie in you that can be developed to do this sort of business or ministry? You are much more than you have already become, but you must play to your basic strengths which will often be somewhat communicative with your interests, passions, and desires.
S - STABILITY
Is this company currently financially stable? What is the state of its finances, indebtedness, and financial accountability? Are there mountains of lawsuits piled up against it? Is it complying with the law? Are its leaders people of integrity? Are its corporate values clear and congruent with its behavior and your own values? Is it producing some real verifiable success stories? Are a significant (not necessarily the majority) number of recruits sticking with the program and consistently building growth?
E - I want to do two here: EXPERIENCE and EXPENSE
First, is there are coming together of your own experiences, the experience of people in the mentoring support team, and the upper level leadership of the organization so that there is a foundation upon which you can build. One can make up for the other, but not all can be weak and there needs to be some significant experience at the top.
Second, what does it cost to get in and really get going? Ask about hidden costs, ongoing investments, and the cost of tools and training as well as the costs for initial sign-up and monthly product purchases. Have all this information ahead of time. Credible sponsors will tell you. There is no success without some investment.
Don't shy away from that, but count the cost and consider if this is an expense you can afford by stretching yourself, making some sacrifices, and being very careful.
Do not become immersed in unsecured debt (with a few exceptions) to get started and do not choke out your success because you have not planned to make the necessary investments.
These are things you consider up front.
If you and the horse both qualify, saddle up and get started.
Proverb for today:
"... pay attention and gain understanding." (Proverbs 4:1b)