The Courage to Grow: Finn & the leap into the unknown

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There is a piece of guidance I had from a mentor in my early 30’s that has stayed with me for decades as a real gem .. “you haven’t learned a thing until you’ve done something different or better”. I was so eager back then to learn about the latest theories and tools on human performance that I would read and read, take class after class, certification after certification.

And, I’d say to him, “I learned so much from [insert latest thing]”. To which he would reply with his sage gem. (He also got fed up at one point with me quoting experts. “I want to hear what YOU think.”)

It pissed me off back then! It wasn’t that I wasn’t learning of course … with a little hindsight I can see that, to his point, gaining knowledge and putting it into practice are two very different things.

Growing and evolving is not about gaining knowledge alone, that can be part of it, but it’s far from the whole picture. And in a world where we’re addicted to knowing more, we often mistake gaining knowledge for development. We often confuse acquiring more for growing.

The story of Finn’s journey to the herd is a great example of how real transformation and growth happen – through love, adventure, courage, and bravely stepping into the unknown.

We all yearn to grow and evolve, and this growth comes from direct experience. Conscious growth requires a brave heart, it asks us to let go of what we think we know and question everything. To be wrecked by what we find and then courageous enough to create a new way of seeing life.


Finn came to the herd almost 2 years ago. His person cared about him – a friend of hers had brought her mare to the farm where he was born and when Finn was a year old, his mom returned to her farm/work. Finn was living in what struck me as a little piece of heaven - a small farm nestled among hundreds of acres. He lived with an old male horse and an old male donkey. There were chickens and kittens and fish in a nearby pond around the house. He was loved!

When he turned 4, his person decided he had a lot to offer and sitting around with two old farts wasn’t going to help him discover his gifts. She wanted more for him and set out to see what was possible. She was adamant that there was no rush, he could stay a lifetime, and if something that was right for him came forward, they would know.

She wanted Finn to have the chance to grow into his glory and she wanted that more than to keep him for herself. When we have others who care this much about our development, we have some pretty powerful supporters. I’ve seen this, rarely, in the workplace too. A leader who cares about the growth of an employee and will do anything to help them realize their potential, including helping them move on to another team or find a new job outside the company. And, in business at least, I’ve never seen this led to anything but success for EVERYONE. 

So often we hold on for comfort, out of fear, instead of being willing to risk what we know for what is asking to be born through us.

When I first went to meet Finn, he seemed confident and very happy. I had actually seen him in my meditations before speaking with his person and it was a cool journey to find out who this “80’s rock star” horse was showing up in my mind’s eye!

As we began exploring him coming to The Courage Herd, it became clear he was actually very nervous to leave what he’d known. All three of us felt that he wanted to go, he was just scared about it.

His person and I came up with a plan … every day she walked him toward the end of their long, long laneway that led to a quiet, private road and talked with him about stepping out. Each day she would add a few more steps and hang out a bit longer.

After about four few weeks, he felt much more ready. I arranged a trailer and we asked him to walk in if he wanted to give it a try, promising he could return if he didn’t like it. He seemed to consider the offer and then walked on without any aid.

And boy, did he have a surprise waiting for him! Mares!! Lots of them, eager to meet him! To say he was wired when he arrived and caught a sniff of everyone is no exaggeration. 

In the few weeks that followed he learned to regulate himself a more and started to find a new rhythm. As he was introduced to the herd, the mares began to show him the requirement to put the herd first – something he hadn’t known before simply hanging out with two elderly guys.

And gradually, over the past 2 years he’s learned about his gifts. We call him Mr. Joy. That’s one of his incredible gifts – to spread joy with the herd and our guests. In all forms, and shapes and degrees. And, with each guest who works with the herd, he learns more about the perfect timing and way to interject joy, or even if it’s asked for.

I’m sure there is much more to come for Finn in his evolution. Just as there is for you and me. Just as there is for this sorrowed, troubled world so in need of a leap in consciousness. And all of that starts with believing in each other, believing in our potential, no matter what, and taking the brave leap to let go and see what life is asking we become next.

Christina Turner