There’s a wonderful story I heard 20 or so years ago that carries several lessons for us.
The story is about how lions hunt gazelle.
Now every morning when gazelle wake up, they know they must run fast or be eaten by lions; every morning, lions wake up and know they must run fast or be hungry.
But lions learn pretty quickly that gazelle are much faster than lions but that does not deter them from the hunt.
Knowing gazelles and how they behave, they have developed systems for their hunt that even involves the older lions who are much too slow ever catch the gazelle.
The way the system works, the old lions of the coalition (that is what a group of 10 male lions or fewer is called) will hide in a place where they cannot be seen. Meanwhile, the young lions will chase the gazelle in a manner that herds them in the direction of the old lions.
Just as the gazelle, come close to the old lions, they stand up and roar which terrifies the gazelle who turn around into the teeth of the young lions who are then able to catch and kill them.
The way the story is often interpreted, if only the gazelle had “gone to the roar,” they would have faced their fear and won.
But their fear causes their demise.
The story also carries the message that systems can be used to defeat native ability; after all, when lions do this, they are much more effective in their hunt than without it. There are times you will face your professional or personal fear and be tempted to allow it to rule you. Developing a system to manage your fear can make it possible for even the biggest boogeyman to be cut down to size.
But if the lessons of systems were so easy, we would all be able to easily create systems to vanquish our fears and move ahead with our lives and not be “eaten.”
As people though, we are often very tricky with ourselves and able to rationalize our changed aspirations with remarks that translate into, “That’s OK. I didn’t really want that any way.” We dies a little that day and doom ourselves to acceptance of the status quo and, often, personal misery.
Good coaching can help you overcome your excuses by helping you face the game of life with support. A good coach will help you envision alternatives for yourself and support you with persevering against the voice demons in your head that cry for you to give up and explain away defeat.
Going to the roar can be easier with support.
Isn’t it worth it to live your life and your career at an elite level, rather than in the pack?’
© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC 2015
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a coach and executive recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.
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