In 1803 Thomas Jefferson, then President of the United States of America, was in gridlock with his political opponents in the Federalist Party over the acquisition of additional lands that would include the shipping port of New Orleans and control of the Mississippi River. The impending purchase would double the size of the United States in one transaction. Jefferson’s opponents said that he was wasting money on “a worthless desert”, and that the Constitution did not provide for the acquisition of new land or negotiating treaties without the consent of the Senate.
Can you imagine the possible outcomes if Jefferson had failed to go with his gut and had refrained from pushing the Louisiana Purchase before the Senate for a vote? Simply put, every American on the planet could be speaking French had he not chosen to “go with his gut”.
We are often called upon to make tough decisions during difficult times. It’s quite possible that decisions will be required before each and every fact is found and vetted, and further that each decision will carry significant consequences- either good or bad. And it isn’t just Presidents, CEOs, and military leaders that face these challenges.
This past week I had the extreme pleasure of staying in a small farming town in Western Australia called Gnowanarup for a few short days. The townspeople are warm, inviting, and genuine. Some raise sheep while others raise crops, and during my visit I met a gentleman by the name of Dick Garnett. He and his lovely wife Barbara have spent their life together raising Poll Merino Sheep on their 30,000-acre farm. Dick was kind enough to show me a wall of newspaper clippings detailing the many prize sheep his farm has produced, but one particular sheep’s story stood out.
Dick explained that while Australia was suffering from a significant economic downturn, most other sheep farmers were tightening the purse strings to conserve finances in hopes of “weathering the storm”. During that time, he came across a ram in Southern Australia that he just couldn’t pass up- everything in his gut told him to buy that sheep. And buy it he did- at the tune of $80,000 hard-to-come-by dollars. Others considered him crazy, and he admitted to losing a fair amount of sleep over the choice, but his decision was made.
That sheep- which they called “The Crow” * went on to sire a treasured sheep which they named “Sir Winston”** who won many awards, the least of which was the National Championship. That $80,000 purchase has yielded over $250,000 in siring contracts for their sheep farm, and is still paying dividends today- long after Dick and Barbara have handed the farm down to their son, Collyn, and his wife, Tania. When I asked Dick what prompted him to spend 80k on a sheep, he answered humbly, “I went with my gut”.
Monday Morning Perspective:
“High achievers spot rich opportunities swiftly, make big decisions quickly and move into action immediately. Follow these principles and you can make your dreams come true.” – Robert H. Schuller
“Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, you will be given opportunities in life to make choices both big and small. Never be afraid to pull the trigger because you fear making the wrong decision. Courage, candor, and conviction are the easy corrections for imperfect aim- but those who surrender to “analysis paralysis” are certain to accomplish nothing whilst appearing very busy.
This week I challenge you to kiss over-contemplation goodbye and heed the Nike trademark advice of “Just Do It!”
Have a wonderful week!
© Crystal Dyer 2011. All rights reserved.
* Named after the Southern Australians who are nicknamed “crow eaters” by their fellow Aussies because they say it’s so hot that there’s nothing to eat but crow. ** Named after Sir Winston Churchill because (and I’m quoting Dick) “he was an arrogant B*****d, but an amazingly smart sheep!”