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Certainty versus Conviction, Nancy Lowery

Published: 6/13/2012
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Editor's Note:
I met Nancy Lowery at the Mane Event in Red Deer, Alberta this year. A cool lady with a compelling program called The Natural Leader. It integrates horse work into leadership and team transformation programs.

Here is the first part of a three-part series:

By Nancy Lowery

Certainty versus conviction

Ask a horseman how to solve a particular problem with your horse and the answer will more than likely be “It depends.” A response you might find somewhat frustrating if you prefer certainty in life.
While there is much you can be certain about with a horse, a simple answer is rarely one of them. The horse’s lawyer, Tom Dorrance, summarized it well: “A horse is only afraid of two things. Things that move and things that don’t.”

Certainty versus conviction and the question “Who is in charge of my success?” was the topic of discussion on a recent trip, the two-hour drive was like a private session with two leadership experts. To paraphrase their definition, “Those who work under the idea of certainty believe what they know or hold is true. Those who work from the perspective of conviction allow room for dialogue.”

Certainty is simple. Ideas are presented as good or bad, right or wrong “This is how it must be done” or stated as fact. Take for example Bush’s speech to Congress following 9/11 “You are either with us, or you are with the terrorists” Bush offered a position that was not open for debate. You either agreed or you were, quite simply, the enemy.

Certainty offers little room for interpretation. Control over the outcome is often given to someone else.

On the other hand. Conviction offers the position that “I stand for something and feel strongly about it, but I am open to hear what you think.” For those who follow an idea with conviction it is OK to ask a question, challenge an interpretation or include your own perspective. Conviction doesn’t need to be seen as fact, but as a view or belief
that has worked.
When you have conviction about something you believe you have control over the outcomes and are willing to engage in a discussion to that end, because you own the idea.
A perfect example of people holding belief over an outcome unfolded half way around the world. For three weeks the Egyptian people, no longer willing to accept the status quo, acted with the conviction. The certainty of religion, gender, race and status were no longer barriers as people took to the streets by the hundreds of thousands, until Mumbarek finally stepped down February 11.
What is clear is each individual took the responsibility to play their part in ushering in a new era.
Leadership as demonstrated by the Bush statement is a command control style of leadership that weighs on fears and expects compliance. In fact, the cost of questioning or defiance has already been defined.
Leading with conviction requires self-awareness and authenticity. In the case of Egypt it began with one individual inspiring and convincing another that change was possible. It was truly authentic and collaborative leadership in action.
The difference, for either horsemanship or leadership, comes down to those who are self-aware and authentic about what they desire to learn and offer.
The difference, for either horsemanship or leadership, comes down to those who are self-aware and authentic about what they desire to learn and offer.
Learning from one teacher or the other can help complete the picture we create for ourselves. I choose to follow my horsemanship path with conviction. My goal is to present the best offer I can to my horse.
I work hard to manage my emotions and I continue to explore ideas, environments and situations where I can be my best.
Of that, you can be certain.

“I could always see the best in a horse. Since I’ve gotten older, I can usually see the best in people, too.”
-- TomDorrance

CLICK for Part Two

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6/13/2012 Judy
I would have preferred some "non-political" examples.

"Anyone who is concerned about his dignity would be well advised to keep away from horses." - Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh