EP 79 | Saddle Your Own Horse - Part 1: Get in the Arena

Uncategorized May 07, 2024

EP 79 | Saddle Your Own Horse - Part 1: Get in the Arena
April 11, 2024 • 19 MIN
In this episode of Being in the Arena, Zach Arend delves into the concept of modern leadership and the necessity for a fresh approach, which he terms Saddle Your Own Horse. Reflecting on his recent TED talk, Zach explores the paradox of burnout amidst a thriving self-care industry, suggesting that our relentless pursuit of distraction may be masking a deeper sense of boredom and unfulfillment. He challenges the conventional wisdom of self-care as a cure-all, proposing instead a return to authentic values and purpose-driven action. Through compelling anecdotes and research insights, Zach encourages listeners to reexamine their approach to leadership and life, emphasizing the transformative power of genuine progress over mere busyness.
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Welcome to being in the arena. I podcast all about what it means to be in the arena of your own life and your own leadership. The goal of this podcast is to really support and coach you. To reignite your authentic power. Your vision and rediscover the lost art of leadership. Today's episode. I want to go deeper into the Ted talk I recently gave at Youngstown, Ohio.

It depends when you're listening to this, this, it means either the Ted talks about to come out or it has just come out. The reason being is, I don't know exactly when it will come out. It's it's up to Ted and when it gets published, but I've been told in the next two weeks or so, so it's coming. And I didn't want to wait though.

I wanted to start digging deeper into. A modern leadership solution. I'm calling saddle your own horse. It's the very.

It is exactly the message of the Ted talk, saddle your own horse a modern leadership solution.

And over the next several episodes, we'll say four episodes over the next four episodes. I want to really break down this idea of saddle, your own horse. What does it mean to saddle your own horse? And if you're a leader, which most of you are, because this is tends to be more slanted towards a leadership podcast. How do you teach others to saddle their own horse?

Because the world. Needs you and me. And everyone around us. To take this on to saddle our own horse. And as leaders we have, I believe we have a responsibility for creating a culture and environment. Where every single one of us saddle our own horse. And so it's important that we look at this a little closer. Because in the talk that I gave, you know, I was doing, I did a lot of research.

Probably six months went into this. This project from the point, I really started thinking about it and studying and researching and writing and rewriting and deleting and throwing it in the trash and starting all over in the process though, I came across a lot of really great information research.

One of the interesting stats that did make it into the talk was that. The fact that we are projected to spend $8.5 trillion globally on self-care over the next few years. So over the next three years, in three years, we will spend $8.5 trillion on self care. That's a lot of money. And yet. I saw another stat. From Deloitte that shows that. Eight out of 10 of us say we feel burnout at work. So we're spending all this money on self care.

And yet we, 80% of us, eight out of 10 of us say we feel burnt out at work. And so I'm reading this, I'm looking at the information I'm like, wow, that's interesting. The more money we spend. The more burnout we are like, there is a correlation. We've seen burnout rise. We're seeing self-care rise. So the self care thing just doesn't seem to be getting it done. And. I've always listened to my gut, my instincts. First and foremost. I pay attention to my own life.

And I ask myself, what's true for me. And then I go out and I look for data and information and other stories that might affirm or not affirm. Whether or not my guts telling me. Correctly. Well, my gut for a while has been telling me that we're not burnout. We're bored. That's what, that's what I felt years past.

And I see it in a lot of my clients in the organizations I go in and talk to their team. Like what we actually uncover is. We're not burnout. We're bored.

And that's my gut. Now Adam Grant. Wrote about this in one of his recent books, that psychology actually has a term for this, and it's called bore out. I'm not making this up, Google it bore out. It's a thing. And, you know, the symptoms are very similar, you know, it's easy to get them confused. We're not burnout.

We're bored out. And the more I think about this, we don't realize we're bored out. We don't realize we're bored because we never give ourselves a chance to actually experience the uncomfortable feeling of, of boredom. Of not truly living up to who we know we can be. Why? Well, because distraction. We will live in one of the most distracted times in all of human history. Distraction galore. Right.

And I'm aware of this in my own life. Like, I, I never actually know there's times where I don't actually know how I'm feeling. 'cause I never slowed down enough to really check in. I check in on my cell phone, like what's going on in Instagram, my email. More times than our wife would like to admit. Yeah, right.

So I'm sure a lot of us do. And that distraction prevents us from actually coming into contact with what is true for us. You're actually not over obligated. With a bunch of stuff you're actually at what's true is you're not doing what deep down, you know, you can do. That's what I found has been true time and time again. And the world right now is doing a really good job. Of telling us and everybody. That we're burnout that there's this huge mental health crisis.

And. Please don't hear me saying there's not, there is. But I'm kind of questioning where it's coming from. I'm not so sure it's coming from our workload. You know, I, you know, No, I think it's how, it's our relationship with all these distractions. Um, and it's never become more apparent than me after I've written this Ted talk and PR and delivered it. I started exploring Cal Newport's work. And. Amaz, if you haven't heard of Cal Newport, go read his books. I think as one of his early books was be so good.

They can't ignore you. And then he wrote deep work. If you're a creative and artists, entrepreneur, a leader, even, um, dig into that book. Digital minimalism. A world without email, another book that just came out and it's the one that I've been reading recently is slow productivity. And in the book, he just makes such a strong case for. Our issue is we live in a world of distractions and overstimulation overstimulation. And. We're bored.

We're distracted or overstimulated. And if we were just to slow down and actually get in touch with that boredom. It might have something to tell us. Wow. We're not really truly living our values. We're not truly being who we know ourselves to be deep down. We're not doing deep down what we know we can do. And I, it makes sense if we don't do that, it makes sense that it's going to lead to mental health issues and disease.

And cause if we're not honoring ourselves, Then yeah. A hole. Whole world problems. It's going to come as a result of that. So. We're not burnout. We're bored out. And this is the first idea I explore in the talk. And I really do believe that. For sure. I'm sure there's some professions in the burnout category.

You know, you will think about some of our health, healthcare practitioners and absolutely there's times where it was just, they gave it all. They got. Um, But I think a lot of us are bored and I think a lot of us in our late thirties, forties, Um, Our specialty board. I think we've succeeded. In our lives.

We've got promoted. We have the titles, the car, the house, the families. And now. All we do is we go to meetings and reply to emails. And at the end of most days, we can't really say. What we really got done. Like how did we actually move forward today? I believe why for me, I fundamentally, I need to feel a sense of progress in my life.

Like I don't care about the desk. I'm learning this. I thought I cared about the destination. And okay. I still care about the destination, but I'm learning. That. It's more about the progress toward a destination that, that I yearned for, because I'm pretty good when I'm feeling progress. I don't know about checking with yourself.

I mean, if you're feeling progress towards a big goal, Um, usually, I don't know. I I'm able to lay my head down on the pillow at night and feel like pretty good. Like, you know what, making progress and it doesn't even have to be big progress. I'm finding it could just be little progress. Saying I want to be a writer writing and then throwing it in the trash that's progress. As opposed to whining that I'm busy and just responding to emails all day.

That's not progress that leads to boredom. That leads to burnout. That leads to mental health issues. Dis-ease all that. We have to start listening. For what our heart yearns for. Enough spending money on self care. Like I've seen enough. That's like, you know what? I'm not so sure as human beings. Need that much more?

Self-care. Um, we don't need massage balls and yoga mats. And. Bob's adult coloring books, and God knows what else. Right? This is the $8.5 trillion enter. Um, industry. And I think it's feeding right into our consumerism. Like. Mentality. Our world of distractions. And the data says, I can't see, it's really making a dent. But here's what. Here's what does make a dent and. I found this in stories and, and draw history.

And one of the books that I uncovered, Daniel Coyle wrote a book on, um, talent. I think he wrote a book called the talent code. And he studies. Athletes and performers, artists, musicians, those that are the best in the world at what they do. And what he found was. They all went through. Um,

A period of struggle. In fact, he there's a whole chapter. He writes on, um, struggle as a biological necessity. Tragal is a biological necessity. I think I that's true. Isn't it? And so we're out there trying to find comfort. Trying to find self care when. Biologically. Struggle is, is actually then what we need, we need. To be put into bigger and bigger arenas.

We do. Otherwise, we get bored. And then we go off into LA LA land and get distracted. And then, and then we come up with things like burnout and, um, all kinds of things. And then we need to go by an adult coloring book to, to cope.

This is, this is ours to take on. This is the very. Um, this is where I'm coming from with this talk of saddling, your own horse. Like we have to take responsibility for our own lives. And you know, what, even burnout, even legitimate burnout.

You have to be responsible for that. Because we live in a, uh, We live in a world that is free. We are free to make our own choices, even though sometimes it feels like. We can't. Um, we can. And so if you're burnt out, if you're bored out, that's a choice. And that sounds like a very, I hear a lot of self-help, you know, authors, speakers say that, and it's just kind of flippant. But I just want to slow down a little bit, like. Saddle and your own horse.

Oh yeah. I, you know, and when you listened to my Ted talk, you'll kind of get a sense of what I'm saying. Um, and not just about what I'm saying, but a sense of yourself. And what you're able to do. It will remind you who you are. I believe.

And so.

Daniel Coyle. It says struggles, a biological necessity. And he doesn't just say it. It's based on a lot of research. He's done working with the best in the world. So, okay. I listened to that and like, oh, that checks in with my gut. I. It's been true for me. And then I'm reading another book. Sebastian younger writes a book called tribe. And it's all about. Um, Community and connection and how we need to feel in connection with others. And one of the statements he makes in the books, he says that modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary. That hit me.

I'm like, yup. modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary. And I believe that the way we can feel necessary again is we've got to start asking more of ourselves. And each other. We've got to put ourselves. In the arena. And I've been thinking a lot about this distinction and. Again, this is going to be, I'm going to break this down over four episodes. And we're going to really look at what does it mean to saddle your own horse? And this first thing I wanted to share with you today is how critical it is. And how you need to be deep demanded of. You do we do, I do. You do. We need this.

It's a biological necessity to struggle. We've got our, put our. We got to get to a bottom of a new mountain. We've got to have something that is demanding something of us. Because modern society, as Sebastian younger says. Has perfected the art of making you and me not feel necessary. So. The only way we get through this, you know, The best that we can is we got to start asking more.

We got to start playing a bigger game. And asking our team members, our family members. To play a bigger game. There's nothing wrong with us. We've got to start. We've got to get into the arena because far too many of us are sitting in the grand stands. You know, I, growing up, I wrote. Rodeo. I wrote, I was a rodeo rider and it got me thinking about like, wow, you know, just a handful of people are actually in the arena. Um, everybody else is sitting in the grand stands. And. It's a great distinction, you know, are you. Are you in the arena?

Are you in the grand stands? Because when you're in the arena, you're demanded of. There is necessity. For your, you know, you there's necessity. On you placed on you. Like, you feel like you're making a contribution and you're having impact. And that isn't something. And we're going to explore that in the next up.

Oh, coming up. So that's not something that we need to, um, look to others for. We have to cultivate it in ourselves. That's the very premise of saddling, your own horse. You gotta be willing to take it on. You gotta be willing to be in the arena.

And so. This episode is really a call. To entering. The arena. Of your life.

Of your business of your, of your leadership, your team. You know, and entering the Rena. It's a call to entering the arena. What this is not what I'm not saying is we need, we need more grit and we need to pull ourselves from. Up to our booth bootstraps. We need to work harder, faster, better. That is not what I'm talking about.

I'm not, this is not a Gary Vander Chuck thing, or a grant Cardone. That's not no. We need to put ourselves in the arena and that is very unique to you. It is. It's probably. Where you find yourself the most afraid. You know, like here's a kind of a, a different example, like, you know, shutting it down at five o'clock, six o'clock and just putting the phone in the closet. And being with your family. Like that one's been real for me.

You. Like throughout my years, it's like, wow, what is this thing that I can't stop working? And. I've discovered that the work. Being busy. It was kind of like a safety blanket. It made me feel like I was, I mattered. But what an illusion that is. Because. Right. I mean, Where, where do I want to, where can I realize I met her the most is at home with my girl, you know? This is stuff that this is what I mean by enter the arena. Like, this is about like listening to. Hmm. Who needs me at my best. Where, where do I need to play a bigger game?

And it might be in your business. It might be, you might be, um, been in a leadership position. You've been promoted, you're comfortable, but you know what? You find yourself going to meetings and responding to emails and your board. Well, If you weren't bored, if you weren't doing all that stuff, what would you be doing? And actually like, sit with that.

Like one of the things I do when, when I'm working with. Uh, executive, we really start getting clear on their greatest contribution to the organization. And it's certainly not responding to emails and going to meetings. And when they actually see it, what they also see is, oh shit. Oh, shoot. Someone said when a family member over Easter said, Zach, you cuss a lot.

I didn't know you cost. So I'm like, well, I didn't know that either. So now I'm trying to watch it, but. Shoot. Um, they realize what they're being called towards is something they've never done before and deep down. They're actually scared. They're actually. Afraid of stepping out there cause they might fail.

And then what would that mean? And so it makes sense that we kind of stay in these patterns of boredom. And just over obligating ourselves in busy-ness. When deep down, it's more convenient for us to just complain that we're busy than actually stepping out on faith and trusting ourselves. And raising our hand. And taking on a new project or taking on a new, um, Business unit or product or whatever, like, you know, listening to that creative. Urge to do something to make a greater contribution. And one of the number one things I love doing is calling people to, you got to act on that. We gotta move.

We gotta do it. You want to be a leader? People follow courage and courage requires bold act like you just got to take some bold action now, not massive action. I'm not saying like you gotta be again, but you have to take some bold steps. Oh, outside of your comfort zone and start trusting yourself. And stop living just to stay comfortable because it's killing us.

It really is. It is. So I'm pretty passionate about this. This is a call to getting your butt in the arena and I'm speaking right to myself as well. I, gosh. Where am I not playing a big enough game? Like, where am I. Maybe got one foot in the grand stands with the other leg up on the fence, thinking about, you know, I'm on the fence thinking about going in the room, a guy, and I'm, you know, I'm not really fully in the arena, both feet in the dirt, ready to rumble.

Like I'm not. And I'm starting to realize like, oh, yup. I, um, I'm being called to work with organizations more. I, I want to, I want to speak from bigger stages. Okay. Well, she's never done that before and that almost intimidates me. I'm like, I don't know. And it's like, well, darn that, that's it.

That's my version of being in the arena. And not only that, but I got to do it in and do it in a way that I honor myself as a dad and a husband. Like I'm not doing this. Like I used to do stuff. I'm not doing this work in 70 hours a week. Nope. This is, this is a quality I'm going to do this. I'm going to do it.

The. Really well. But I'm not going to do it in a way that sacrifices. The other areas of my life. Now I'm really creating a bigger arena. Like this is I'm up in the stakes. Like this is now I've got a big game to play. And this is what this episode is. It's called a call. To get into the arena. And then over the next several episodes, we're going to break this down. Next episode, we're going to talk about three powerful questions that if you can answer yes to these three questions. You are going to have a real sense of yourself. You're it's a confirmation that you are in the, in the arena. These three questions and your relationship with these three questions, have the potential to change the game for you.

And that's what we're going to be exploring next in the next episode. And then we're going to bring this thing all the way down to the ground. First and foremost, we got a Saddler on horse. We've got to take it on, but then it's kind of interesting when you start to take it on yourself, you start to see people differently. You start to treat them differently.

And now it's all about leadership, how to teach others to saddle their own horse, how to create environments. Where everyone is saddling on a horse, that's where we're ultimately going together. So stay tuned for our next episode. And if you haven't. Checked out the PA uh, the Ted talk yet. Do it. It may not be out yet.

I still don't know when it's coming out again. It may have come out and you may have listened to it already. If not, just stay tuned, stay plugged in with me. You're going to be the first to know about it. We'll see in the next episode.