Be a Bison!

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Apr 22, 2020

Over the years, I have thought of myself as a Lioness.  A Lioness symbolizes hope, victory, tenacity and stamina.  Through these past few months, I have tried to focus on hope and stamina. However, thanks to a good friend of mine, I will try to be Bison.  I will try to face my fears head on.  -Theresa Pritchett, Founder, Soft Landings, Solutions for Seniors

Please read his article about how to focus on your North Star.

“As leaders of our organizations, we are sometimes charged with what seems like an insurmountable task.

The past few weeks I have experienced some of the most challenging times of my career.  I find I’m asking myself questions that I don’t know the answer.  The thing is…even experts don’t know the answers. After accepting that, I changed my mindset – instead of feeling uncertain (which I still do at times) I focused on our North Star…caring for others.

Home Instead Vision Statement “Enriching lives through the betterment of others”, solidifies my teams’ focus on others.  Continually refocusing is what all organizations, and people, require.  After all, we are all human and prone to doubt, insecurities and fear.  The thought of fear is what leads me to write to you today. At the beginning of the current events I participated in an online prayer group and the analogy below was shared. For my team, I have shared the analogy below about the majestic bison (buffalo).  This magnificent animal, a symbol of the wild west, faces it’s fears head on.

I hope that you can use it to feel encouraged, to encourage your teams and know that what you do matters for your patients/residents/clients/team. Please know that Home Instead is here to support you in the pursuit of bettering others.

One of the most fascinating characteristics of the Bison is how they react when a storm is coming. While cows, their close relatives, huddle together, the Bison take the storm head on, traveling directly into its path.

This symbolism of the majestic Bison heading directly into the storm is very fitting and an interesting reminder of how to confront life’s obstacles. We all know that the worst thing we can do when confronted with a major challenge in life is to run from it.

Don’t run.
Don’t avoid it.
Don’t hope it goes away.
Take it head on.

But as human beings we often don’t do that. We tend to procrastinate and the fear of the big upcoming task gets bigger and more daunting in our heads. To use an old idiom that’s been around since millions of Bison were roaming the Great Plains, we like to “make mountains out of molehills.” We essentially procrastinate our challenge into something much bigger than it needs to be.

But that’s not what the Bison does. Rather than waiting out the storm or running away from the storm, the Bison charges into the storm, taking it head-on and running right through it. This has the effect of reducing the amount of exposure to the storm.
On the contrary, cows have a different reaction. They run away from the storm, receiving the brunt of the storm in the process.

The reaction of the two animals is an interesting juxtaposition- the free to roam Bison vs. the domesticated Cow. The wild and free animal versus the captive cow. Two animals, both from the same biological subspecies with two fundamentally different instinctual reactions to the stress of the storm. Every day we are all faced with challenges, both personally and professionally. Sometimes these challenges are the equivalent of the big storm that the Bison take head on.

In taking these obstacles on directly we learn what the Bison knows instinctually- when we address our challenges directly the perceived obstacles are often much less than we imagined.

Please stay safe and healthy!  Wash your hands and BE A BISON!
Feel free to share with anyone that needs to be reminded of their North Star.”

Matt Preston, Home Instead Senior Care