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Facing the Storm

There’s a metaphor that’s easy to find on the Internet if you Google it about the difference between cows and bison. When a storm is approaching, cows huddle together and run away from the storm. The problem with this is they end up running with the storm, thus prolonging their discomfort. A bison, on the other hand, runs into the storm, facing the discomfort of it head-on, and in doing so, the storm soon passes over them and shortens the duration of their discomfort. The lesson, of course, is to face the storm.

One of the leaders of the company I work for told this story to a couple of us, and it fit his personality perfectly. When it comes to the tumultuous change needed to grow our company, not only is he facing it head-on and charging, he’s asking everyone around him to be a bison instead of a cow. In our moments of discomfort we must choose whether to face it or try to retreat from it.

It’s likely most people don’t change because they don’t like the feeling of discomfort associated with beginning—of facing the storm. I’m currently walking around with an abundance of lactic acid and a reawakened creaky ankle, all from the combination of beginning to walk longer distances again and rowing much more than I had been. This state change has created discomfort that will eventually fade as my body adapts. We’ve all felt this, and we know where it leads if we stay on track. Most people retreat from discomfort instead of pushing through. Be the bison instead.

It’s fair to ask ourselves just what it is that we’re charging into. Is this a storm we want to face? But we know deep down that change is coming either way. Pay me now or pay me later: this is true with everything we do in our lives, whether getting in shape, getting ahead in our career or managing our relationships. You can’t just hide from storms, you’ve got to face them head-on and get through them. To do otherwise is to prolong the discomfort. So get to it already.

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