by Jake Aull 12/08
Mentoring is heralded among business leadership and
job-searching literature alike. It’s a great method of education – it
gives us goals for advancement and characters to grow into. But whether they
are mentors, employers, or teachers – we know when we are in the presence
of the high-powered, successful visionaries we admire. Likewise, much
literature exists attempting to capture the character of such highly successful
“lions.” Certainly for us, assimilating such information can be valuable. But
we can also greatly benefit from focusing on our own observations and creating
character analyses of the lions around us. If we seek accomplishments, lions
can show us the way. If we seek job positions, they can tell us who we must
become. We can then digest these traits more fully, and advance our own selves
toward who we want to be, or to the job positions we desire. In the spirit of
these thoughts, I’ve attempted my own character analysis of the high-powered
lions I’ve been fortunate enough to meet in my life. Here are my common-trait
The Underlying Focus
- Lions seem always focused. However this is not an
all-consuming concentration, leaving them unable to consider anything beyond one
thought. To phrase it differently, perhaps lions are "subconsciously
focused"; they can be engaged in conversation with another, or be fully
aware of their environment, yet simultaneously have a constant, specific
thought running in the backs of their heads. For analogy, I consider Dennis
Hoffman to be very successful at what he does. But if I met him, I would expect
him to be fully concentrating on his latest acting project – so much as
to barely see me directly in his face. My apologies to the great Dustin Hoffman
for such labeling, but this is what I consider NOT to be the lion’s focus.
Rather, lions seem to have a subconscious that enables a "split mind"
- both in the moment, and somewhere else, simultaneously...
Conquering the Ego
- Lions have some ego, but not nearly as much as one
would expect. It doesn't seem to be about ego for them. Perhaps it was at one
time - perhaps they had to meet and conquer that. But they seem, somehow,
driven less by ego than (for lack of better term) less successful people are.
Perhaps less successful people need ego, gratification, and moral support more
than lions? A key difference here I think is pettiness. Lions are not usually
petty. At least perhaps, not in what they're great at. So many of the rest of
us, in one thing or another, are petty.
To further the point, lions rarely show offense. If one does some little thing expected to offend them, lions do not retaliate lowly. Perhaps they are offended, but they do not stoop so low as to project it. They seem to have a greater priority in mind. Something coming just around the bend...
Constant Force of Energy
- Lions have a constant, reliable, driving force. They never stop, yet it doesn't seem to over-tire them. They wear energy like a suit. This is not necessarily a force of ultra-competitiveness – lions are not the types that have to beat other people at everything they do. They can play a game of golf (and it’s just a game of golf), but there's still that something else, that constant thought, that reliable, underlying force beneath the surface.
Perhaps this energy can appear optimistic, but lions are not over-optimistic. Rather, they just conquer, without need for explanation. Their inherent, invaluable energy seems to push on, regardless of optimistic or pessimistic projections. They are not “busybodies”; they are purpose-driven. Their energy is self-revitalizing...
Nonetheless, this “great gusto” can hardly be rationalized to any one thing. Lions may be successful, but they are not in the game just for money or power. And reaching a prominent position does not cause them to stop. They run for the love of running – and crossing milestones along the way. They are not left injured by failure, nor does it stop them.
- Much literature on success emphasizes optimism, enthusiastic energy, focused goals, and not giving in to arrogance. Perhaps what makes lions different from the rest of us, is that these are just the elements along the way to convert into results. It is a journey that lions embrace, rather than the end of the line. Lions are not focused on exclusively one position, nor retirement. They grow, not because they try to, but because at their core, they need to grow to live…
We can all become our own lions if we wish. There are no others’ shadows confining our abilities – only paths to our own tall stature. The footsteps of our great predecessors can lead us there – may we learn them well indeed…
Copyright 2008 Jake Aull