“Give a kid a rope and he wants to be a cowboy!” This saying is an insult pointed toward someone whose behavior goes too far. At worst, the target is reckless, dangerous and selfish. It is the teenager that gets the car keys and drives too fast. Or, the 21 year old who turns a birthday outing into a wild night. Perhaps, it is a business professional who takes their skills, contacts, and attitude to challenge the marketplace as an entrepreneur.
Wait, is taking a rope and becoming a cowboy necessarily bad? What exactly results from this cowboy mindset? Could something positive come from this behavior?
A kid with a rope and cowboy ambitions clearly has imagination. Consider that modern youth are mesmerized by hundreds of cable channels, limitless musical selections, and countless interactive video gaming options. Imagination is a rare and valuable commodity. Cowboys follow their own path. In fact, cowboys take their imaginations and start solving problems. A cowboy protects his cattle and other assets. He chases competitors and bring them to justice. He works hard out of love for the lifestyle. In essence, he uses all of his skills, intuition and guts to provide for himself and others. That sounds like leading a successful business.
A cowboy gives the impression that he works alone, yet always seems to have a posse around him willing to help. A cowboy may not have all the right answers, but firmly believes he is doing the right thing. Most importantly, he believes in the process. He is attentive to his cows producing healthy calves. He plants and harvests. He makes repairs when a storm hits. A cowboy uses his rope to enforce discipline. A business leader may not have a rope, but undoubtedly endures assorted and unexpected threats. The cowboy mindset prepares him for success regardless of external circumstances. Simply, it is his responsibility.
Despite the imaginative kid with a rope having many modern marvels at his disposal, the cowboy mindset takes him back to simpler times. Cowboys solved problems and conquered new frontiers with abundant courage and limited resources. Entrepreneurs fundamentally work with those same parameters for their challenges. Success, in both cases, relies on sticking to proven fundamentals. Set a plan, resolve problems and do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. This strategy is always in style. A cowboy and an entrepreneur both measure success by achieving objectives. And when they do more, then that is even better.
The kid with the rope who wants to be a cowboy is just crazy enough to be wildly successful. Entrepreneurs should follow that example. Acknowledge the risks and do it anyway. Grab a rope to snag cattle that tries to wander away one day, then to secure your horse when you go into town for business the next day. Of course, villains are out there. Yet, creativity, attention to detail, and fundamentals result in success. Forget conforming to society’s expectation. Use these attributes because you have them, then accept your destiny to use them for staking your claim. Grab a rope. Be a cowboy! When your work is done, ride off into the sunset!!
By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter and Beyond