Not wanting to see syndrome


A few years ago I bought a horse, a somewhat older horse at an annual fair somewhere in the countryside. When I saw the horse for the first time, it stood a little squeezed in a corner of the market, sadly waiting for the end of the market, symbolically enough, right next to a truck of a horse butcher. No owner in sight.

But the horse attracted me. No matter how timid and sad she was, I felt an inner strength with that horse. A big brown mare, with eyes that looked at you full of deep sadness. The horse with signs of a life of hard work, once muscular.

After some wandering around the market and in the pubs of the village I managed to find the owner and to buy the horse, as expected not for a lot of money. There was no name in the passport. So I bought a nameless, old horse, for no reason but just a feeling.

With an equally old piece of string on an equally old halter, I took her off the market. A metamorphosis took place in her. The head went up, the back straightened and with a proud step it went into freedom with me.

Now this beautiful mare runs on the mountain pastures of D-Ranch Equine Living Center in southern France.
A powerful personality, so much more powerful than I had ever seen at that first meeting at the fair. Now, proud and powerful, enjoying nature, being allowed to be always outside, always be a horse as much as possible, as horses want to be. In a herd, wandering all over the terrain, from pasture to pasture.

Drinking troughs where necessary, natural water where possible.

She still carries her past with her. Stable vices, that is called. For example, every time her road is blocked, she stands weaving by a fence or tree trunk. Her sight is clearly less, but how beautiful and powerful she is and how good she is in our herd of eight horses and a mule. Her muscles are shiny and tight again. The hind legs strong, from walking on the hills. Fierce, sparkling, powerful. A pleasure to see. You feel the energy when you are with her.

Drinking from the lake

One day the horses could go down the mountain to the lake for the first time this year after a winter season time. The slopes that were to slippery from the rain in the winter had started to dry again. The slippery weather is disappearing. In a beautiful  nice trot the herd made good use of it to go down the hill to have a drink in the lake, nice and fresh water from the lake, as if playing and splashing while drinking. Until the knees in the water, with lots of splashes and hassle, as if  the horses were celebrating their freedom.

Drinking from the bucket

Just not my beautiful brown mare. Not even when I brought her to the water. Is this what a leader does? Wasn’t she thirsty? Yes certainly! Was it my responsibility? When I held a bucket of water under her nose, she immediately started drinking and drank the whole bucket empty. Then again the same ritual … not  drinking  from the lake like the other horses, but only from the bucket. It touched me when I realized how unnatural it was, as if this horse might never have been a horse in a natural way as if it had not even learned to drink from a lake, from her mother or herd. Only to drink from a bucket or water bowl from humans. Whatever happened in her past, does it matter to you as leader?

What do you do as a leader? Do you think:  “Why aren’t you drinking? See how I made up for all the circumstances. There is water, there is meadow, you are free to make your own choices. If you are thirsty, start drinking. I’ll wait till you start drinking. Or do you see the trauma, do you see the underlying motives for not drinking from the lake and are you going to grab that bucket of water?

In many organizations, there are beautiful brown horses, once powerful, once muscular and working very hard at a high level. The people around them know little about the pain, about the motives. These horses are a bit on the side of the organization. The reorganization is lurking.

And the management of the organization does everything to make those people function. Everything has been arranged. Training, perhaps even modified tasks and roles, guidance … Start working, everything is arranged.

What do you see then? Do you see the lake that the horse will not drink from? Despite the horse even being brought there? Or are you still going to get a bucket despite the lake? This is actually about seeing. Do you want to see what is really going on. The rationality of the lake, or the unconscious heart of the bucket.

It’s really about seeing who the horse is. There was no name in her passport. Fortunately a family tree. After some searching on the internet with the names of her parents Grand Amour and Windlight, her name came up Grandlight. A name with a beautiful history and wonderful achievements. A name of a horse with capacities, a horse with power. What a beautiful name: Grandlight. Light to show.

And you? What do you want to see or what do you not want to see? Do you want to take leadership or give leadership? Does your leadership consist of bringing to the pond, or bringing the bucket?

Sometimes organizations do not want (or cannot) to see what is really going on because this is hidden in the unconscious.

The Don’t Want To See It – syndrome affects everything and everyone that is disconnected from its nature, its true being. I have learned that businesses fail because they lost the connection with the true essence of their being. In management books this true essence is frequently referred to as Mission. Many books are written on this topic, but most of them miss the true essence of it. The reason the business is there, it’s heart and soul. Not the great words that management has written down in the annual statement of strategy papers. That’s what management made of it. And only if management wrote that down from their heart, free from the entrapment of the burdens I discussed in the first chapter, it will give purpose, direction.

But if you miss that essence, you will have a shaky configuration, things will not line up.  The only way to overcome this is to find your personal leadership, your true essence, living by your heart, giving a heart and soul to your company. Your business skills will be enhanced to discover the true essence and leading principle of what it is that thrives your business. Based on that leading principles you will evaluate your mission and strategy and discover what will enable your business to be successful.