It’s almost Spring and my horse Cali reminded me that it’s a good time to start shedding and stripping down. Yes, losing a few pounds would be good but that’s not what I’m talking about. It’s about shedding those built-up meaningless layers of excess stuff and getting back to the truth in your work. It’s time to cut through the noise and bloat that limits your  mobility and release the societal conditioning that pressures you to be more, do more, and have more with more. Cali showed me this truth during an equine-assisted business coaching session. Here’s what happened.

It was freezing cold so I blanketed her for the session. We work in an indoor arena, but it’s not heated and gets chilly in winter. Partway through the session, she seemed uncomfortable, itchy and tight. I took her blanket off. She sighed gratefully, sniffed around in the sand and then dropped and rolled, grunting happily while reconnecting her body to the earth. Then she stood up, shook off and marched around the arena with renewed vigor, a longer stride, refreshed and free. This is not unusual for a horse, but it struck a chord as we reflected on the potential metaphors to business.

The truth was that Cali didn’t need the blanket. She’s from Germany and has quite a heavy coat. But since the temperature had been in the single digits and all the other horses wore blankets, I put one on her too. But the blanket bound her up, limited her range of motion, and made her look just like everyone else. Stripped of the blanket, she was free to be herself and move with ease. She didn’t need the blanket. She was perfectly fine in her nakedness.

Later that night as I pondered the session, I was struck by how often we cloak ourselves with unnecessary stuff, convinced that this is what we need or must do to be accepted and respected in our industry. We add more and more until we become lost in a sea of stuff – activities, events, social media demands, technology devices, the latest apps, training certifications, even people and material goods.

But often the stuff just crowds out who we really are and what we stand for.  And we end up looking just like everyone else.

The key to success is to look inward first, to know your truth, to know what you love to do, to know what you do best, to hear yourself loud and clear, and to be brave enough to share your voice with others.

What’s your truth? Take time to strip away the nonessentials and look at the facts.

  • What are your values? Are they reflected in your business?
  • What are your strengths? Do you use them daily?
  • What are your numbers – your profits, your margins, your expenditures, your projections? Do you know?
  • What do you need?
  • What do you want?

For joy and prosperity, strip down to the basics. Check your foundation. Know your core – your values, your desires, your strengths, what motivates and energizes you. Your company values start with your personal values. And the farther away you move from your core, the more stress and anxiety ensue. As an entrepreneur, you have the authority to be and do what you want. You don’t have to look or sound like the others. Drop the labels, societal pressures and get back to your core.

Where do you have an unnecessary “blanket” in your business or life? Strip it off. Free your spirit. Be yourself. And please, don’t look like everyone else! Happy shedding.