Sometimes you are the cow. Bear with me…
There is a great story I heard from speaker and author Kevin Paul Scott about A Cow and a Buffalo. Basically, the story goes that a cow and buffalo both have the instinctive ability to detect an approaching storm. What they do in reaction to those instincts is totally different.
The cow moves away from the storm. Editorial note, a cow is slow! So it ends up spending more time in the storm. The buffalo runs towards the storm, it spends less time in the storm. Pretty clear delineation.
A Storm and Baseball
Yesterday, our 13U baseball team was originally scheduled to play at 8:00 a.m. in Woodstock, Georgia. Woodstock is located about thirty minutes away from where we live, Acworth, Georgia. We require the players to arrive an hour before the game to warm up, so Grant and I left the house at 6:30 a.m. It was early…very early.
Rain was in the forecast, but it wasn’t expected to arrive until 11:00 a.m. Plenty of time to get a one hour and forty-five-minute game in, right? Wrong. It started pouring rain around 7:30 a.m. and flooded the fields. Fully expecting the tournament coordinators to cancel games for the rest of the day, our prediction was proven wrong for the second time that day.
We received a notification that our game had been moved to Cumming, Georgia at 11:30 a.m. Cumming is fifty minutes away from Woodstock. Yes…fifty minutes.
A little geographic context for you. Woodstock is Northeast of Acworth, Cumming is Northeast of Woodstock. Guess which direction the storms were moving? You guessed it…Northeast. We drove fifty minutes to get another round of batting practice in, then the bottom fell out. New set of fields, same result…flooded.
Sometimes you are the cow! As we sat underneath the pavilion, we took the opportunity to share some leadership lessons from the cow and the buffalo story with the boys. Here are the three that we shared that apply to both life and leadership.
Sometimes You Are the Cow
Leadership lesson one for them, sometimes you are the cow. “Boys, today we are the cow.” That is how we left it with them. Plain and simple, we tried to outrun the storm and couldn’t.
In life and leadership, we won’t outrun the storms. They will track us down and pour down on us. They create darkness, doom, and gloom. Storms stifle out the light in our world. The longer we run from them, the longer we stay in them, plain and simple.
Be the Buffalo
Leadership lesson two for them, “Boys, be the buffalo.” We told them that life is going to throw them plenty of storms, just run towards them. They will spend less time in the storm.
In life and leadership, we can’t avoid the storm, but we can spend a whole lot less time in it. Just run towards it. It doesn’t make the experience any easier, but the darkness, doom, and despair will pass more quickly. We are more likely to see the light beyond the darkness as the storm passes us by.
Pick the Right Herd to Run With
Leadership lesson three for them, “Boys, pick the right herd to run with.” This was a bonus to the original intent to the story. There is no greater lesson to a group of thirteen-year-old boys than to pick the right herd to run with. Whether you are headed away from a storm, towards a storm, or doing life in general, we need the right herd.
Two great quotes come to mind on this subject. Jim Rohn once said, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” A friend of mine and one of the wisest people I know, Dr. George Manners, once told me, “Show me your friends, I’ll show you your future.”
In life and leadership, we should be keenly aware of the herd we run with. Picking the right herd is so absolutely critical to our success. The right people run into the storm with you like a Buffalo, the wrong people head in the other direction like a cow…without you. We must be extremely selective in choosing our herd or the herd can trample our success.
At times, I wish it was easier to be a buffalo. If we are being completely honest with ourselves, in the Dark Seasons of Leadership our natural tendencies are to be the cow.
As the storms approach, every fiber of our being screams to run away. Nobody likes storms. We hope and pray that they just dissipate and go away before they ever get to us. And while every storm will run out of rain in due time, the experience blows through much quicker taking it head on.
As for herds, I am personally grateful for the herd I run with in life and leadership. If you have the right herd, you should be as grateful too. They provide us with wise counsel, encouragement, and necessary support to be the buffalo.
Sometimes you are the buffalo, sometimes you are the cow, but you are always the leader. Be someone worth following into a storm.