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You cave to peer pressure and put your name in a contest to ride a bull.

Suddenly – you win!

What was a joke and dare moments before, you now see your name on the rodeo board, everyone is freaking out with excitement because you were chosen, and the exhilaration quickly turns to dread.

This is what happened to my son, 10-year old Royal Hewlett, the other day at the world-famous Oakley Rodeo. 

When I say “riding the bull”, it was actually a young neutered steer who will eventually grow up to be an ox, but that doesn’t make it any less intimidating to get on the bareback of a wild animal with longhorns trying to buck you off.

The Hewlett’s are city folk who proudly wear our country cowboy hats, belt buckles and boots whenever we get the chance.  Having grown up spending summers in beautiful Pine Valley, just outside of Woodland/Kamas/Oakley, Utah, we lovingly call our generational property “The Ranch”.  We mostly only have the chance to ride bikes, 4-wheelers, and cars, whereas getting on a horse, catching a chicken, or chasing down potguts (aka property destroying prairie dogs) makes us feel more alive than ever in the open air.

Yet, who gets chosen to “ride the bull”?  My son, the daredevil, the youngest of 4, with his siblings looking on in anticipation (“Dude, you have to do it!”), to fear (“Mommy, do you think Royal will really do it?”), to outright concern (“Royal, what if the steer bucks and his horn goes through your eye?”).

With cameras rolling from the hands of his siblings, an arena full of parents and children wondering who would ride next, I helped keep Royal calm as his angry steer entered the iron gates, crashing all about, hind quarters tied up to make the young bull extra jumpy, ready to buck any young rider off as quickly as possible.

Placing the helmet on his precious head, straightening the pinned #67 to his back, I looked at him and said, “My son, are you really going to do this?” 

With tears beginning to well up in his beautiful eyes, he said, “I’m scared.  I don’t think I can do it.”  

I was scared for him!  I wouldn’t dare do it as a youth or adult, and neither would the older kids, yet here he was, with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to try something he may never get to again.

I said, “Royal, there’s no problem if you need to back out.  We will all understand and we will still cheer for you always.” 

Royal looked at me and said, “But they’ll always remember I didn’t go for it.”  

I assured him that his siblings never forgetting this moment was also true, since he’s the youngest in the family, and then we came up with a solution, I suggested:

“What if you have just a few seconds of insane courage? 

What if you know you’ll never get to even try to ride a bull again? 

What if you get bucked off immediately? 

At least you got on the bull and went for it!  You’re the Man in the Arena!  

You are good and safe with this awesome helmet, chest pad, and it will probably hurt when you fall.  But you’ll always be able to say that you did it!  I Promise you will never regret this!”  

He looked at other kids blasting from the chute, some hanging on for 2 seconds, others flying off at first jump and nearly being stepped on by their hefty animals.

My 10-year old looked back at me, full of fear and then morphing into a full array of emotions – curiosity – confidence – determination – and said,

“This is my only chance.  I’m doing it!”  

Choking under the tears I held back, an equal mix of pride and terror for my gutsy child, within seconds his number was called up, he’s climbing over the iron gate, he’s stepping on his steer…

Here’s the Video:

As you can see, the story thankfully ends well! 

Royal hung on for less than one second, bucked off immediately upon entering the stadium, and successfully not getting stepped on by the steer!

As we had discussed, regardless of an 8-second ride or barely getting out of the gate, he needed to play to the crowd and jump to his feet, throw up his arms in celebration for his accomplishment, and he did exactly that, even as he came up limping from the impact of being thrown from the steer’s back.

The crowd went wild.  His older siblings were in awe that their little brother even tried it.  Mom & I bought him a plastic lasso, spurs, and bucking bronco t-shirt at the gift shop.

Nothing gives me more perspective and courage like watching my own children do amazing things, even taking chances I’ll never be able to.

The idea of “20 seconds of insane courage” is from the movie “”We Bought A Zoo”

This week, when you face a challenge, a fear, some uncertainty, please Promise you’ll be like Royal and have courage for just a moment to do that which you are worried might be too much for you to handle.

Or as Matt Damon says, “Embarrassing Bravery”.  

This may be your one chance!

My Promise after watching Royal: I have recently violently injured my knee, and after a successful surgery this past Tuesday, am choosing to face the greatest challenge for me – patience with self; to allow others to serve me; to rest; to slow down… for me, that is riding the bull and being the man in the arena this week.

What’s your Promise? 

Posted On Thursday, 28 July 2022 00:00 Written by

Mindset is absolutely everything in this world we live in, and having a specific mindset in the professional world is a quantifiable asset. How we think on a daily basis determines our professional output, whether we are an entry-level employee, middle manager, or a C-suite business executive. Out of those categories, having a positive mindset about your industry as a business leader is perhaps one of the most critical, as business leaders make integral decisions that trickle down through an organization, directly impacting employees at all levels.

Technological Factors That Impact Your Business Mindset

Of course, maintaining a positive and even transformative professional mindset as a business leader is not as simple as motivational videos and literature may make it seem. The world both inside and outside of your industry has a direct impact on your mindset.

Common factors that may impact your professional mindset may include organizational culture, the state of the economy, or perhaps even personal home life, which all of us carry to the office in one way or another. But today, it is worth noting that disruptive digital technology is definitely a leading factor in the mindset of a business leader.

For many seasoned C-suite executives and other business leaders, there is still a sense that the good days are long behind us, and that too much is being transformed by exponential digital acceleration. For instance, Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is a digital transformation happening in nearly all industries. Given the connectivity of 5G alongside Edge Computing, both of which better facilitate the functionality of A.I., business processes will continue to become autonomous — a Hard Trend future certainty that you cannot change.

A business owner or C-suite executive at an organization that views A.I. as a threat to their organizational structure and many employee roles will naturally shut down any ideas that include its application. This in turn shuts a door on ways in which their business or organization can both positively transform their industry and continue to grow. Essentially, they have a pessimistic mindset and negative outlook on the future.

Understand What You Don’t Understand

Largely, business executives and other leaders balk at new, disruptive technology like in the A.I. example above because they simply do not understand it. A lack of understanding around what exactly something like A.I. is erases entirely the potential for them to think exponentially about the transformative software and hardware applications.

Perhaps this comes from that same type of generalization that often encompasses talks about mindset that I mentioned earlier in this writing. Most of the marketing surrounding A.I. applications appears to legacy thinkers at businesses or organizations as robots taking jobs away from humans.

But whether you are “old school” in your thinking or fully embracing new technologies, the key to leveraging new technology exponentially and having a positive mindset toward them is quite literally by understanding what you might not already understand. Carve out small pockets of time to learn more about the technologies that directly impact your industry to develop an actual understanding behind their functionality instead of a general overview that leaves you with uncertainty.

Mastering Soft Trends to Think Exponentially

In the Hard Trend Methodology that I teach in my Anticipatory Leader System, there is a component that business leaders and executives can actually create an impact with — Soft Trends. These are future possibilities surrounding Hard Trend future certainties that are more open to influence.

Artificial Intelligence itself is a Hard Trend as mentioned earlier; however, how A.I. is implemented is a Soft Trend that you can influence! Too often, new technologies are soaked up by industry leaders as one-trick ponies, when in reality there are boundless opportunities that surround them, all unique to their industry and more specifically, their organization itself.

If we isolate A.I. for a moment, how you implement A.I. at your organization to improve business processes or better serve your external customers is the Soft Trend that is open to influence. When you take a Soft Trend as such and use it to your organization’s advantage, you are thinking exponentially as a human in a digital world!

An accounting firm that shifts its mindset from believing that A.I. applications on the outside will steal their customers to a mindset of utilizing the A.I. internally in custom, unique ways to better serve customers will find significance and success in the industry.

The Human Competency in Digital Technology

Even if you think exponentially about how you implement autonomous digital technology at your organization, what sets you apart from competitors that utilize the same digital technology?

Human beings and their individual characteristics! Human competencies in our digital world coupled with autonomous technology like A.I. are vital to leveraging these digital advancements exponentially. This is commonly witnessed in the world of customer service. You can have the most advanced A.I. chatbot to help your customers 24/7; however, many from all generations still want to speak to a person to have their problem solved.

Pairing digital components with human cognition is how an organization offers unique services to its customers, stays ahead of the curve of disruption and change, and most importantly, fosters a positive Futureview® organization-wide. And with this newfound mindset around how to integrate digital technology with your human workforce exponentially, you as a business leader can now watch for more Hard Trends and be Anticipatory in thinking exponentially about what is to come.

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