Many of us look to our leaders to give us guidance on our behaviour. Sadly, it seems lately that many of our leaders seem to be lacking a moral compass. Some political leaders appear to admire individualism so highly that they make disrespectful or inflammatory remarks we no longer even find surprising. Some “leaders” appear to feel that their exalted positions leave them above question. Respect, grace, and dignity can often be hard to find in those we select to represent us.

Some of us seek to find a “kinder and gentler” society. Leadership is an inside job, and I went looking for it. I found it in our communities – in service organizations, volunteers, and essential workers. I found it in books and on YouTube. I found it in studying the past.


Cowboy Culture

Cowboy culture is celebrated at the Calgary Stampede. This celebration of western hospitality is world renowned. Many guidelines for western hospitality have been documented (examples are Gene Autry’s Cowboy Code, the Lone Ranger Creed, Roy Roger’s Rider’s Rules). The most applicable guidelines for me were the Code of the West.

The Code of the West is the unwritten principles around hospitality, integrity and respect for humans, animals and the land that influenced the behaviour of the settlers of the North American frontiers. These are the ideals that have been documented:

  • Live each day with courage
  • Take pride in your work
  • Always finish what you start
  • Do what has to be done
  • Be tough but fair
  • When you make a promise, keep it
  • Ride for the brand
  • Talk less and say more
  • Remember that some things aren’t for sale.
  • Know where to draw the line.

These are ideals I can get behind, especially in the face of challenges of our society today. None of us will be perfect in applying them. Reviewing these guidelines daily has given me a roadmap to a more rewarding life.


About Jocelyn (

My search for personal fulfillment led to embracing the rural lifestyle in my early 30s. I still have the passion of the newly converted, knowing that the country way of life (especially the horses I raised, trained, and showed), gave me peace of mind I never felt before.

These things helped me survive late-stage cancer treatment in 2014. My passion is to explore these lessons with others who are searching for purpose in their lives.