American Pharoah: A Story in Leadership

This week we want to highlight excerpts from an article written by Kelly Merbler, Regional Manager, AppleOne. In the article, Kelly equates leadership to the Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, and how his story taught her about leadership, teamwork, goals, and the belief in something or someone that is in your gut.

American Pharoah was just another colt heading to the auction 2 years ago. Out of the thousands of thoroughbreds that go to auction every year in Kentucky, what made him special? When he went to auction his owner had big hopes to sell him for over a million. That didn’t transpire as planned but everything happens for a reason they say. In life, sometimes we meet people for a reason I believe. Everyone has a certain destiny and it’s what we do to act upon it that makes the difference.

A “Gut Feeling” Can Really Pay Off

As leaders, sometimes you feel a certain “gut feeling” for someone in front of you. That feeling that you can help them achieve great things in life even when everyone else is telling you otherwise? We meet people and we see them for face value but not for what is deep within them. When the biggest things we cannot teach are not visible to the human eye such as a positive attitude, drive, and grit.

Leadership Develop is an Investment in People

(Owner) Zayat believed in his horse and knew with the right combination of people he could be better than any other. He knew the time and energy it would take to invest in this horse but if he did that he may get something special. As leaders, we realize that leadership development is an investment in people. It is selfless and exhausting at times but when we put the time in we may get a reward that we never even imagined. As leaders, we are only as successful as the people around us.

A Team Effort Always Takes the Win

American Pharoah wouldn’t have won the Triple Crown if he was alone. It was the tireless effort of a team that knew he was special inside and he had what it took to achieve greatness. It was countless hours of planning and playing to his strengths and to race him in the right races to develop him as a 3-year-old.

How much do we put into the future leaders that surround us?

Are we planning alongside of them how they can run the right races to get to their success? How can they run for their Triple Crown?

As leaders and team mates, do we bring it every time or do we rely on the top performer next to us to do the work and help us succeed? Are we a joy to be around? Do we show up every day with the right attitude like American Pharoah does or is it all about us?

Victor Espinoza attempted 2 other times to win his Triple Crown. He had his last taste of it in 2014 on California Chrome. What kept him going and not giving up? To come so close to victory and watch it run right out from behind you. We have all been in similar life situations, but what did we do after we lost?

(We had) a big brown horse with the heart of a champion and a great attitude that just needed to be on the right team around the right people who believed in him, developed him and loved him. Once that combination found itself, history was created. It didn’t matter that no one had done it in 37 years to the horse, the jockey, the trainer, the owner, or the millions of people rooting for this. This was all about the teamwork that came together and the belief of a goal that nothing could stop them.

Thank you, Kelly, for sharing!

Do you have the belief, goals, and team members to make your dreams come to fruition?

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