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After he asked me if I was OK, the next thing he said was, “Well, you have to get back on. We can’t let her think she can get away with that.”

I was a skinny 12 year old and just got bucked off a feisty 2 year old filly. She threw me into a barbed wire fence. My blue jeans were shredded and blood was running down my leg and into my boot. When he told me to get back on, my eyes were pleading with him not to make me. I didn’t say it but I was hoping he would bail me out and do it for me.

My Dad was a super-hero to me, the strongest man I had ever seen. After all, I had watched him carry a refrigerator out of our house — down 2 flights of stairs — by himself. So at 12 (before I became a somewhat defiant teenager), I did everything he told me to do without protest. I was happy to see him clip a long lead-rope onto her halter as he told me he wouldn’t let go. When she started bucking, he snapped that rope so hard it nearly took her off her feet. And that’s all it took. After another 15 minutes of circling around him, she knew she was broke. I learned more about psychology that day than I ever could out of some college text book. Overcome your fear and don’t back down.

There have been many times since that day 40 years ago where I felt that fear about something I had to do for work or in my personal life. Maybe someone else could bail me out of a situation or task I didn’t want to do myself. Another Clearfield Engineer ccould do that presentation at a trade show. I could defer to my boss to deal with a customer situation. I really don’t want to work outside in the field when its 30 degrees and raining.

When that happens, I think about the scars on my leg and the lesson my Dad taught me that day so many years ago. I pull myself up off the ground and I get back on.

By Jim Pilgrim