Cowboy Up

Sometimes you just have to cowboy up.

Whether it’s running your practice, writing your dream book or creating fashion for the runway, you have fallen off your horse.

If you’re really lucky, you’ve made a few spectacular tumbles. Why lucky? Because the bigger the fall, the bigger the prize you were reaching for.

Getting thrown hurts. But luckily, it also builds muscle. Muscle that gives you the strength to bounce back with grace and purpose.

Look at it this way. Which of these stories has greater appeal: the rich, good-looking kid from a loving family who gets the record deal; or the funky-looking ex-addict from an abusive home who spent a year living in his car?

We do love the underdog and sometimes he is you.

Don’t fight it—embrace it. Build your failures—especially the epic ones—into your story. Fall off the horse, cowboy up.

Yippee-ki-yay to you.


  • I never believe the ones that say it was easy and everything in their world is marvy. I was born at night, but not last night. (I think T. Boone Pickens said that.)

    It’s more important I hear from someone who got their ass’s kicked, broke a leg, bloodied their elbows and knees, and came out of it on the other side telling you what they learned and how they grew.

    p.s. After a year, my back is almost 100%. I’m tryin not to look at your cowboy graphic. Ouch!

  • I certainly praise overcoming adversity. I never advertise what I faced. It certainly shapes my world view and my values. I often talk of knowing what the top of the stairs or ladder looks like (prefer that to the “end of the road”) and taking steps forward but sometimes stepping back before climbing further.
    No question you learn more from mistakes. Yet as we know (bad) History repeats itself more often than most would like. I often speak of learning bad things or mistakes that others make (of course I intervene where I can and wherever practicable). As I started out, many a mentor share a story – a lesson if you will – aimed at helping me avoid a mistake, a “cowboy fall”. As a result, I try to share those stories or my own versions to others.
    I prefer not to allow people to endure falls just so they can learn and rebound.
    BTW and I’ve not ridden since, the horse “threw” and I landed somehow on my feet — true story (Perhaps I wanted off and jumped — it was a rather long time ago.

  • Hi Steve,
    We think alike–the one who has fallen off a few times is a much more intriguing human being 🙂 Here’s to backs at 100%!

  • Hey Corey,
    I think you raise an interesting question for consultants. Is it advisable to build your hard knocks into your backstory? Clients pay us to be the experts and it can feel, well, awkward, to admit to mistakes.

    I like your approach of telling stories to illustrate your points–we are all hard-wired to elarn that way…..

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