Don’t Hold Your Horsepower

“Hold your horses!”

People use this phrase telling us to wait. To hold ourselves back.

But we are all too willing to reign ourselves in. We already find plenty of reasons to stay in the gate instead of throwing ourselves into the race. Fear of embarrassment and rejection too often outweighs the lure of potential success. We’d rather choose what we won’t do instead possibly discovering what we can’t do.

So, we listen to those telling us to hold our horses. When we limit our capabilities in order to feel safe, we’re really being told to hold our horsepower. 

One of the earliest appearances of “hold your horses” is in Homer’s Iliad. Antilochus is told by another chariot driver to “hold his horses” because that particular section of the race track was too narrow for two chariots. Instead, Antilochus continues to race hard and the other driver pulls back. Even though he had the slowest horses in the race, Antilochus overtakes the other chariot and finishes in second place.

People may have good reason to ask you to wait, or–like Antilochus’ rival–they may be driven by fear or competitiveness. But holding your horsepower may keep you from reaching your potential, letting someone with less potential pass you by.

Don’t let your fear, or others, hold you back.

Lean forward, loosen the reigns and don’t be afraid to unleash your horsepower. 


Dustin Staiger is a business and marketing coach in Houston, TX. He addresses team and individual effectiveness, marketing, communications and creativity for smaller, entrepreneurial organizations as well as large enterprises.

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