Thursday, April 9, 2009

Taking “Big Jake” by the Horns

This week I visited a little place called Fort Worth, TX. We drove in at night and it didn’t seem like much; it almost reminded me of a ghost town. I’ve never been to Texas – in fact I can count on one hand how many times I’ve left my precious East coast. So on a Monday night, Fort Worth didn’t look like anything special. In fact, it scared me a little and I dreaded waking up the next day, convinced that it would be worse in daylight. The next day I wasn’t surprised so much as stunned at how much they embrace their roots: cowboy boots used as signs, longhorn heads everywhere, a cow skull hung above my hotel bed, and the Western horse saddles set-up as bar stools in the hotel restaurant. Texas is an entirely different beast from the rest of the United States.

Longhorns parading in front of the Stockyard Hotel

As a native Virginian, I’ve been exposed to the so-called “Southern” lifestyle: mud splattered trucks in the high school parking lots, camouflage jackets as daily attire and, of course, that music. However, I could escape it because not everyone in my area was from Virginia; many were from Pennsylvania, Maryland, or farther away because there is a Naval base in my hometown. Located within miles of the Mason-Dixon Line, we are an eclectic county.

It takes some time for me to adjust to change, but when I visit places I like to force myself to go outside of my comfort zone and try something new. For instance, I rode a Longhorn steer, something that was never on my to-do list or had even crossed my mind. But it happened. I knew this was probably the only time I’d ever have the opportunity to ride a steer and stay on. It helped that I wasn’t alone–I had my business coach Carrie Wilkerson standing by, having already gotten up on the bull, telling me it was simple and doable.

Once I sat on top of the rather calm beast, I couldn’t help but smile. “Big Jake” wasn’t as scary as I had thought. In fact, he just stood there, chewing cud, his tail barely lifting to flick at the flies engulfing him. Business could learn a lot from an example like that. Take the bull by the horns – try something new. Gateway aims to be that guiding light in the contracting arena – we’ve ridden the bull before and know how the beast works. We want to help your business achieve because it is simple and easy. The only thing that is preventing you from getting up on that animal is yourself. One thing I took away from Texas was that I needed to trust myself more and believe I can do it anything. With the right coaches, anything is achievable.

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