Who do you identify with? Are you the lion, or are you the mouse? From the outside, how do others see you?
Most people can identify with both the lion and the mouse. It depends on the day, hour, year or even decade. Sometimes you’re the king of the jungle and can conquer the world. Other times you wonder if anyone even knows you’re still breathing–feeling small and under appreciated.
The lion appears untouchable and invincible. Lions are perceived has having courage and bravery. They are regal by nature, and reach the top with grace and ease. In business, these are the leaders (regardless of title) that we want to follow. These are the people who make us feel safe and protected. They inspire us to be better. We trust and respect them for their unwavering strength; and we are in awe with their ability to dodge the common day hardships and suffering. For some, to become a lion is a long awaited for honor.
Now here’s the reality. Lions cry. And they fight battles most people know nothing about. Not because their battles are unique, but because most lions feel alone and void of another who will listen compassionately to their story when it’s needed most. Lions are lonely, and most suffer in silence. In fact, most lions envy the nest of mice beneath their feet. For the mice have community, support and a place to share their suffering safely.
The truth is, lions get tired. When the going gets tough they persevere and appear resilient. When the pressure grows they unintentionally distance themselves further away from the mice as a form of coping. And because of the distance, the mice tell each other stories of why the lion should be feared. When all along the lion only wants a friend that can show them they care.
You see, the lion and the mouse have a great deal in common. At times they both wonder if anyone knows they’re still breathing. Being part of a community is equally important to the lion as it is to the mouse–having others who show them compassion, support and encouragement. Like the mouse, it saddens the lion to be alone. The difference is that the lion doesn’t always know how to tell the mouse that it wants to be part of the home. In fact, in many ways the mouse is actually stronger than the lion.
The moral to the story is this…. If in this moment you have a lion in your work life or personal life, show kindness. They most likely need you to reach out, but they have no idea how to ask. In fact, their roar may actually be a cry for help. Have compassion rather than rage. Use the power of community to strengthen and build a positive culture rather than breeding a river full of toxic gossip. And if the lion in your life is on top of his or her world, still reach out–a celebration is nothing unless you’re among friends who want to be part of your journey.
Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.