Discover the three things that my date with Earle taught me

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This past week we held a 3-day in-person event for our Produce U clients here in Palm Springs. It included deep dives into personal, leadership and business expansion topics, plus some very fun meals together.

One of the most profound activities we did was a leadership equine experience at the Smoke Tree Stables, nestled along the mountains of Palm Springs.

As a group, we worked with a stable full of horses and donkeys, and we each had an opportunity to learn about our energy, our connection and our impact. I was immediately drawn to a donkey named Earle, and it’s safe to say that I became a bit smitten with him.

If you already know me, you know that I love to help others create a life of impact and I always encourage everyone to play their Bigger Games.

Well, leave it to Earle, a donkey, to show me three different ways that I can get in my own way as I do my work in the world.

Letting it all go.

I was tasked with moving Earle around the corral. But he wouldn’t budge. The more I persisted, the more he stood still, just like a stubborn mule. I was way too attached to the outcome of walking Earle around the corral, and so I decided that I had to work harder. Work faster. Double down and get that donkey to move. Needless to say, it didn’t work. No matter what I did, he wouldn’t budge. It got to the point of exhaustion.

It reminded me of many instances in my life where I just wouldn’t stop, wouldn’t let something go, no matter how hard I tried. Earle wasn’t interested in walking, so perhaps I shouldn’t have worked so hard to make it happen. Can you relate?

Don’t remain small.

I can sometimes hold back and let go of a goal for either myself or a client, because I don’t want to lose connection, or risk the loss of relationship.

Said another way, I can at times remain small, for myself and for my clients, because it’s just safer that way. Let’s not rock the cradle, get someone upset, or cause too much tension.

The coaching I got from the Smoke Tree team was to physically turn away from Earle and simply be in my power and face the direction I wanted him to move. Be bold. Declare my intent, and move forward. When I did that, and wasn’t right in Earle’s face, sure enough he picked up on my newfound energy and he started to walk around the corral with me!

When I made the choice to look the other way, and no longer get right in front of Earle’s face, I was no longer trying to convince him, and instead I simply became committed to him.

Remember to have this be fun. 

In general, I can become too intense and too significant in my attempt to make a difference or do the work I love.

As I started this experience with Earle, I was so intense, and as I continued to fail at budging Earle, I just started to laugh at myself, at Earle, and at how bad I was at this exercise. My looking good self was certainly gone and completely at a loss.

But as I became more playful with Earle and started to actually have fun, my energy changed, my relationship with Earle changed, and the entire experience just became a game.

It wasn’t lost on me that as the author of Play Your Bigger Game, I initially forgot about the “play” part with Earle.

The more I think about Earle and our time together last week, the more lessons I keep learning. If you know me, you can bet that I’ll soon be turning them all into a pop-up training LOL.

Meanwhile, I give gratitude for Earle, and all the other animals in that corral, who so touched and moved us, and taught us bucket loads about our individual energy and impact.

More to come.


Dr. Ricky T.

1 Comment

  • Nick Mtutu Reply

    Thanks, Rick.
    It’s ok to say I was laughing while reading about you and Earle. The story resonated with me. What goes on with Jack (our Jack Russell) and I is now beginning to make sense and feel a lot FUN when out for a walk. He can be stubborn and I of course have tried the tricks taught at dog training, to show who is master. I think Jack just laughs at me as I often give up behind the comfort of – ” Jack Russells are like that, I can’t change him”.

    The three lessons from experience with Earle are so inspiring. It’s gonna be fun when Jack and I are out in the park!

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