Throw Your Hat Over the Fence

A wise old farmer asked his fourteen year old grandson to help him with a long overdue project, to remove the boards from a six foot high fence that needed repair one saturday morning. He laid out exactly WHAT he wanted done and WHY it was so important, as any good leader would. The HOW was up to his grandson.

He checked back on his grandson an hour later only to find the young man standing there wearing his favorite cowboy hat staring at the imposing task.

Not a single board had been removed. “What’s wrong Johnny?” the grandfather asked. Looking down at his cowboy boots in shame, he replied, “Well, this fence is so high and its going to take a lot of work and time for me to get all the boards down. I am having a hard time getting started,” tipping his favorite hat back on his young head in frustration.

With that, the farmer grabbed his grandson’s cowboy hat and threw it over the fence.

“Hey, why did you do that! That’s my favorite hat!”

“Johnny, as I told you father when he was your age, in order to get your hat back, you are going to have to take down a few boards. Once you get going, you might find you have to take down a few more. At that point, you may decide to stop for the day. That’s okay because you can come back tomorrow, throw your hat over the fence again and take down a few more boards. Eventually, before you know it, the job is done.”

The young man smiled, looked up his grandpa and went to work.

Sometimes, we just have to toss our favorite hat over big jobs and start. Action cures fear. What are you putting off? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Go find your favorite hat and toss it over your next big fence project.

Mark Matteson, Author, Speaker

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