Run towards the roar

Run towards the roar

Run towards the roar

The animals of the jungle know this innate truth – the Lion is the undisputed king. However, the reality is that as the Lion rules, he ages. As he grows older, more and more animals begin to question and undermine his power; the Lion wakes up every day and must defend his right to rule. Even the Lion’s closest relatives, the young and vivacious Lion cubs, begin to rebel in an attempt to overthrow him. They wish to take over the pride for themselves. The entire ecosystem of the jungle turns against the aging Lion, who once ruled with total authority. The jungle anticipates a shift in rule as the Lion’s health declines. 

Yet- he does not give up his hard-earned position easily. The Lion continues to project strength and confidence, stalking his territory with determination. He fiercely fends off encroaching predators looking to seize control. His experience and wisdom as ruler gives him an advantage over the foolish boldness of youth. The aging Lion refuses to back down or show vulnerability. He seems to tap into hidden reserves of power and will in order to maintain his status. Through it all, the Lion remains king for now.. 

Somehow, despite the constant threats and scheming rivals, the Lion is able to hold onto his reign.

How? Simple: He continues to roar.

As a Lion gets older, his mane becomes tattered, his teeth begin to fall out, and his speed and ability to chase prey falters. The Lion has only one form of protection left- his roar. As the younger Lions challenge his rule or hunt his gazelles, he roars and they retreat. The rest of the animal kingdom cannot comprehend that the Lion declines in health and stamina- they hear his roar, and immediately they back down. 

Although our modern culture operates quite differently from the animal kingdom, we as humans experience something very similar in response to fear. When it comes to change, krisis, trials, struggles, or other hurdles, all we often hear is the roar of the Lion. We might start with great aspirations but when we stumble or trip, we stop as we come face to face with obstacles. We can become paralyzed with fear when face-to-face with adversity, and we back down or shy away. In doing so, we make our problems bigger than they are. 

Michael Meade puts it this way:

“Clearly, there are real fears and wild uncertainties in this rapidly changing world. There are also many trying to capitalize on other people’s fears or feed the fears of others. The tendency to panic, as an individual or as part of the herd can suddenly strike anyone. Everyone feels some fear when panic is in the air. In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini calls this the ‘click-whirr’; when an event happens [click] there is an immediate impulse [whirr].”

The beauty of a human response vs. that of an animal is that animals can only react. Animals cannot reason that all that is left is a roar!

Unlike a gazelle or a lion club, we humans can reason beyond the roar we hear. We can take a step back from the situation, and we can see that the once ferocious and exalted Lion is past his prime. He has seen better years- he is weak and not nearly as strong as he sounds. We have the power and the resources to overcome the Lion, despite his mighty roar. Yet, even still, we often back away from the Lion. We hear the roar, and we react before we act. We turn away from the Lion and run before we even realize he is in a state of decline. 

In this scenario, the Lion represents any challenge we may face. When we face trials, hardship, adversity, or roadblocks, they may seem overwhelming. We may think to ourselves, “This is impossible!” or “I can’t overcome this.” We might even have others telling us these things, giving us fears where previously we had none. However, if we take another second to reason past our initial response, we may realize that the way through our problems is clearer than it once seemed. 

How do we do this, then? It seems easier said than done to know that we can overcome our challenges. How do we look adversity in the eye, hear its mighty roar, and persevere through it anyways?

Faith & Fear Can be Guideposts

Faith and fear seem to be unlikely companions. One might even think that the two are diametrically opposed. However, both faith and fear can serve as channel markers for which way we are growing. While one draws us closer to the solution to a problem, the other pulls us away from the things which stand in opposition to our purpose. Although they are very different metrics, both are important lenses for us to look through in order for us to grow, and both can be exercised through the every-day living out of our lives. 

Faith brings clarity of what needs to be risked for a greater life to be found. As life, work, and relationships become increasingly filled with uncertainty and changing norms, faith is necessary in order to see through the fog. Blind, knee-jerk reactions often don’t help make situations clearer! When you have faith in yourself, in your vision, and in your purpose, you’ll be able to make a better decision in a moment about what to do. Faith is about finding your sense of clarity which enables a ‘respond’ approach and not a ‘react’ one.

Fear is often regarded as only a bad thing. However, fear is our body’s natural response to danger. The animal reaction to the crisis is the ‘fight, flight, freeze, appease’ reaction- there is no conscious thinking involved because it is a biological reaction. Humans have this reaction, too; as mentioned earlier, humans are smarter than other animals. We are uniquely wired to be able to override our fight, fight, freeze, or appease reaction through our values, training, and practice. We have a choice in where we go. If you can utilize this response, you can use your fear to help you make a clear, calculated decision about how to proceed in the face of hardship. How do we center ourselves in our values, training, and practice in order to override our biological fear response?

Being rooted in your values allows you to make decisions with conviction and certainty. In the height of hardship, you may feel pressure to make decisions that don’t align with your personal values. If you don’t have a strong sense of your values, the fear of judgment or disappointing others can override your ability to make a good decision. For that reason, being sure of your values ensures that in the heat of the moment, you react in a way that leads you in the direction that your moral compass points you towards.

Especially in an organizational context, it can be highly beneficial to rely on prior training. When you take the time to prepare for a multitude of different situations, you increase your chances of successfully navigating a stressful situation. Proper training ensures that you respond to fear in a calm and prepared manner, rather than with a panicked reaction. 

Additionally, it’s important to remember that no one is perfect. You won’t always make the best decision possible when you look to overcome your fear. That’s why it’s important to view overcoming your fear as a practice. In the aftermath of struggle, conflict, or shortcoming, it’s important to evaluate the situation and your response so you can learn from your successes and failures alike. Look at failure not as a dead end, but as a launching point- if you fail to overcome your fear or you make a decision you regret, be sure to remember that for next time. 

When you combine these two forces- fear and faith- you become virtually unstoppable. Faith equips you with the conviction to do what you know you need to do to succeed; faith serves as an inner compass, guiding you towards what you know to be true and right. On the other hand, fear motivates you to rely on tangible truths to get you through to the other side of hardship, and it also spurs you on to action. Together, these two things provide you with the assuredness and expertise you need to overcome your trials. The Lion’s roar may be loud. It may be overwhelming. You may hear it and think the Lion is stronger, bigger, better than you. However, by combining the forces of faith and fear, you have what it takes to approach the Lion and roar right back in its face with self-assurance, confidence, and commitment. 

We will all come face to face with the Lion of disappointment, failure, hardship, and struggle at some point in our lifetime. When it looks right at you and roars in your face, you have the ability to choose how to respond. You can back down and let your obstacles overcome you, or you can overcome your obstacles. The choice is yours- what will you do? 

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