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The right side of the gate

rodeo clown

When I was a girl I often helped Dad outside in the barnyard. In fact, I’d choose nearly any chore over chores inside.  Mucking stalls, loading bales, hauling chop (chopped oats), you name it.  I’d happily hop in the truck with Dad and run an errand, too: pick up a load of hay, drop off a steer, etc.  Plus, riding with Dad had its bonuses, namely you ride with the Candy Man you get some candy, man!  🙂

Flash forward to my corporate life today: I’m inside a lot, but I take the opportunity to get out “in the field” and in front of people as much as possible.  There’s only so many spreadsheets a girl can take.  I can create and run pivot tables, populate Power Point, yada yada yada, but, as I’ve blogged about before, sometimes you just have to put yourself out there and experience things head on.

A situation has been brewing that I’ve been managing and monitoring; I’ve pulled in local leaders and they understand the scenario.  Getting our corporate team’s attention isn’t always as easy, however.  Not for any other reason than what’s concerning me isn’t blowing up their backyard, it’s blowing up mine.

On a conference call with two lawyers the other day, I sensed they weren’t getting it.  So I brought up my Dad.  I explained that I’d learned a lot about the work I do by observing him as a Rural Municipal rep. He navigated political situations adeptly, he was a good listener, and his quiet charm and gentle approach served him well.  As a girl I tagged along to his meetings, making sure the coffee was fresh and the literature was straight.  I watched and learned as he listened to others’ concerns.

Further, I explained there were certain times when Dad would enlist all 5 of us kids for help – working cattle.  And one of his life lessons was to ensure we were always on the “right side of the gate.”  I shared his words, “If the bull’s out, you want to be in. If the bull’s in, you want to be out.”  Using this analogy, I related that I recently I’d felt like I was in the chute with a frothy mob of bulls bearing down on me and that it was up to the company to give me support as I vaulted up and over to the right side of the gate.  When I added that lately I’d felt like a “rodeo clown,”  they laughed and I felt Dad with me.

Me and those attorneys?  They get it, we formulated a plan and I am once again on the right side of the gate.

100_3119

Oh you could put yourself between her and her babies, but I wouldn’t advise it. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

 

Can you relate to this story? Have you ever found yourself on the “wrong side of the gate?”   What childhood life lesson applies to your work life today?

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Categories: Animals, Attitude, Confidence at any age, Elections, Faith, Family, Growth, Home, Life Lessons, Self Discovery, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “The right side of the gate

  1. Great stuff Marilyn. 😃
    R

  2. So glad you found a way to get their attention. But, after following your blog these few years and meeting you in person, it doesn’t surprise me at all! Enjoy your weekend, my friend.

  3. Many times! As an HR person I also had to get people over that fence to the right side of the fence. Sometimes they didn’t even know they were in danger.

    • Oh if that isn’t the truth ~ I had an employee tell me the other day, “You always have such good advice,” – my response, “Well I am older so I’m technically supposed to be wiser ..” We both laughed and the crisis was averted. MJ

  4. Kudos MJ for utilizing childhood lessons to cope with adult situations. My own experience is to stick with what I know is the right thing (a lesson from my own Dad), and though he didn’t make the bull analogy, it was his towering strength that taught me to stay on the “right side of the gate” too.

  5. MJ you rock. Growing up rural has so many advantages and it’s awesome that you were able to pull this up and tell it….And they got it! Perfect.
    Also…I was that kid too. The one that wanted to be anywhere but inside doing domestic stuff…clean the barn, brush ultra muddy/poopy horses, split my pile of wood or whatever. I especially loved being with my dad too – that was bonus. Still love being with both my mom and dad. 🙂 I need to get back for a visit soon!
    Keep rocking it MJ, you’re such an inspiration!
    ~d.

    • It was the perfect analogy ~ I learned a lot from my Dad, especially how to navigate politically. He also taught me to stand quietly and let animals approach me (they will), to dance a 2 step by standing on his shoes, to read the sky for storms and the night stars for direction, and that things are meant to be cared for and respected. As much as I loved Mom, cleaning stalls was far preferred to cleaning the basement – ugh!

      Cheers! MJ

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