Business: Lead Like a Lion, by Rishi Deva

The thing about business is that you are always tested about knowing yourself, knowing your own inherent value, learning to not take things personally, to see our set backs and even our failures as opportunities.

Many people who start their own business put their value on external factors, such as seeking validation in the form of other people’s praise. Putting one’s own sense of value in another person’s hands is essentially giving away our own potency; it’s the difference between acting like a mouse and acting like a lion.

A business cannot run when being led by a mouse. It needs a lion heart to truly be successful. For example, I have a friend that started a cranial healing practice. This person spent a lot of time getting accredited and put an equal amount of time into making a sales presentation program. This person then proceeded to build a client base and made a sales pitch to a hospital. The hospital said no and the clients weren’t coming through the door as quickly as hoped for. This rejection was enough to make this person make the decision that there was not a support system for her business, and she closed up shop. She is not alone in this type of thinking. Statistically, three out of four startups fail within the first three years. Many fail because they place their own value on external factors and react to their external environment like mice rather than lions.

When I talk about being fierce business, people often mistake fierceness for aggressiveness and associate fierce business practice with hostile takeovers. Being fierce in business is not about being the biggest, baddest and most ferocious business out there. It is about knowing your own sense of value. Knowing your own sense of worth even when your external environment may trying to tell you something different. Does this mean that mice can’t become lions? Absolutely not. As soon as you know your own self worth, and root yourself in that knowing no external stimuli can change that and then the mouse becomes a lion. Lets look at the world’s most famous mouse to illustrate when a mouse becomes a lion.

A newspaper editor fired Walt Disney because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas”. Could you imagine if he believed this editor? This was just the beginning of a string of failures for Walt Disney. In 1921, Disney formed his first animation company, which failed, and rumour has it that he was so broke he could not pay his rent and was eating dog food.

When he had the idea for Disneyland, numerous investors turned him down and when he first tried to get MGM studios to distribute Mickey Mouse in 1927, he was told that the idea would never work.

According to the biography on Steve Jobs, he was a college dropout, he was told he was a lousy tech executive and an unsuccessful businessman, and was fired from the company he started.

At a Stanford University commencement speech in 2005, Jobs said, “It turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

During that period Steve Jobs created the iPod, iPhone and iPad products that have made fortunes for Apple and its investors. This fierce knowing of your own value combined with the alignment to one’s truest joy afforded Jobs the perfect environment to became one of the richest men in the world.

From what I understand both Steve Jobs and Walt Disney were extremely kind, considerate, generous and compassionate men. Yet they were fierce in knowing themselves. They were lions, not mice. So I encourage you to see the ways in which you place your self-worth in external factors. Let’s face it –  most of us do this. Ask yourself, is this truly who I am? If the answer (that usually arises from the gut) is no, then I encourage you to remember that fierceness has nothing to do with aggression. With that understanding, stand firmly in the knowing of your own inherent value, take up that space and roar with the fierceness that you are.

Rishi bioSince 1994, Rishi Deva, founder and CEO of RishiVision and entrepreneurial coach, has empowered thousands of businesses. Rishi has an MBA in marketing and entrepreneurial studies and a BBA in accounting. He has spent nearly twenty years coaching, consulting, managing and supporting thousands of businesses from new startups to active global leaders.

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