|National Day of the Cowboy credit: Shobe Biz Communications|
Who settled the West wasn't businessmen in Armani suits driving red Porsches (not that there's anything wrong with that, but just saying...) It was men and women with a sense of adventure and a physicality that could tame the rugged lands.
And, it was men and women who understood the unwritten code of behavior called the "Code of the West." Cowboys and cowgirls could be outlaws (I happen to be related to one) but they had to play by the code's rules. If they decided to ignore them, they would be shunned as outcasts.
The Code of the West came down to 10 simple rules, rules that pertain to all of us whether we drive cattle with our hands on the reins or drive corporations with our steel fists:
1. Live each day with courage.
2. Take pride in your work.
3. Always finish what you start.
4. Do what has to be done.
5. Be tough, but fair.
6. When you make a promise, keep it.
7. Ride for the brand.
8. Talk less and say more.
9. Remember that some things aren't for sale.
10. Know where to draw the line.
There's a National Day of the Cowboy organization that is dedicated to recognizing the cowboys and cowgirls of this land. Learn more about it at National Day of the Cowboy.
There's also a marvelous book about the code written by James P. Owen, Cowboy Ethics: What Wall Street Can Learn from the Code of the West. (Stunning photographs by David Stoecklein accompany the text.) I interviewed Mr. Owen several years ago. He's a learned and successful businessman with a dedicated mission to ethical business leadership. Check out his foundation at Center for Cowboy Ethics and Leadership.
For breathtaking photographs depicting cowboys and cowgirls in their natural environments, view photo artist Adam Jahiels' work at http://www.adamjahiel.com/.
Today, tomorrow, or even the next, go out and hug a cowboy and/or cowgirl. Tell them "thanks" for all of their hard work. And, if ranchers don't reside nearby, hug someone who best represents the 10 values of the Code of the West.
These are the people who work the land and the land works them. It's time we recognize this and honor them.