I’ve been a foot on the pedal, full speed ahead person for most of my life. Always pushing harder, stronger, and faster. Alotta Marotta is my nickname. This trait has helped me in many situations. Getting my first teaching job, marrying my wife, becoming a men’s division one college basketball referee and more. I achieved many of these things because I pushed myself. Pushed hard.
As I have gotten older, I have learned that this way isn’t the only way. Not every nail needs a hammer. My wife, Jennifer, has also helped me to understand this concept. She works as a guidance counselor in an elementary school close to our home.
Recently we watched an episode of 60 minutes together. I’ve always enjoyed watching this show, even as a kid with my folks. This episode was about a prison in Wyoming that trained wild horses and then put them up for adoption. The inmates trained the horses. They went on to explain that the training not only benefited the horses but even more so, the inmates.
They don’t use the old fashion way of ‘breaking’ a horse here. They use a process called gentling. Just like it sounds, they do not use force. The inmates and trainers use a combination of patience, persistence, and an even keel. They control their emotions, and in turn, can control the horse’s emotions and behavior.
When the CBS news reporter used the word ‘gentling’, my wife and I both sat up a little and locked eyes. She knew I had heard it and we smiled. We continued watching as the inmate, almost Jedi-like, held his hand out, palm down towards the 1000-pound horse, and slowly approached. He walked ever so slowly, and eventually put his hand on the horse’s neck, the first ever human touch. He went on to pet the horse on the neck back and hind.
You can view the full episode here: CBS The Wyoming Honor Farm (https://www.cbsnews.com/video/wyoming-honor-farm-wild-horses-60-minutes-video-2022-11-20/#x)
Be gentle with the people around you, in your workplace, and in your family. We do not know what they are going through. We don’t know their full history or, in that moment, what is happening. Gentleness, kindness, and grace will carry you much further along in life, and your staff and students will appreciate you more.
While my wife has not had to hold her hand out, palm down and Jedi-like train me, she, along with many wise mentors and family, have shown me the power of gentling and showing kindness, persistence, and grace.
Be gentle with others.
If I can help you in any way, don’t hesitate to reach out at andrewmarotta.com or @andrewmarotta21 on Twitter.
Questions? Comments? Click here to contact me. (mailto:email@example.com?subject=%23ELBlog)
Click here to leave a comment on the blog (https://andrewmarotta.com/elblog/)
#LeadershipSparks: Opera In The Park
Quote: “Education is the mother of leadership.” —Wendell Willkie