Updated: Apr 10, 2018
I have and always will encourage my children to love books. I’m no bookworm, it was always my sister that loved to read when we were growing up. I didn’t have time to sit still, I wanted to be prancing about and making noise – sorry mum!
However, as I got older and started to study, I found something exciting about a new text book and started to build my own little library (some of which are still in pristine condition because I haven’t touched them).
Kids’ story books are more on my level! I love doing all the different voices of the characters and find it endlessly satisfying when my son gets lost in a story and believes that it’s real.
For his 4th birthday, my son was given a copy of “The Lion Inside” by Rachel Bright and Jim Field.
It’s a lovely book, great illustrations and a nice rhyming pattern to make it fun to read and listen to. After about the third of fourth time of reading it aloud, I started to think about some of the messages in the book.
I’m sure at the moment they are going over the head of my 4 year old but they struck a chord with me.
A mouse – small, meek, quiet – gets ignored and left out because no-one could see or hear him. The lion – loud, strong, and confident – rules the land because he shouts and makes people listen to him and everyone thinks he is the best because he is strong.
Just put that into a workplace context for a second – can you see any parallels? And which one are you?
A quiet mouse that life passes by or a loud lion that gets what you want? Is one better than the other?
In the story, the mouse decides he wants to change and be more like the lion, so he ventures off to try and ask the Lion for help in developing his “roar."
I’ll let you read the rest of the story but there are a few points that I want to pull out.
“It felt like the scariest thing he could do… but if you want things to change, you first have to change you.”
I thought this was a very profound message for a children’s book! How many times do we decide that things won’t change because of something or someone else that is getting in the way?
What about us? Are we getting in the way of ourselves? If we want something to change, maybe we have to start with ourselves first!
The other point that I found thought-provoking, and something that the mouse and lion go on to realise, is that we need a bit of quiet mouse in us and a bit of loud lion. The two working together is probably most effective.
“Yes, that day they both learned that, no matter your size, we all have a mouse and a lion inside.”
This story links to so many aspect of my work, especially when I start talking to people about personality preferences and how everyone is different, no one is better than the other and how we adapt our style for different situations.
When I use tools like Clarity 4D, I present the individual with a graph showing how much of each ‘colour energy’ they pull on at any given time. Two of the colours, red and yellow, can be associated with more extraverted preferences, possibly louder, faster, more confident behaviours. The other two, blue and green, can be associated with more introverted behaviours, observing, quieter and calmer. Is this the mouse and the lion?
But just because mouse is quieter, he doesn’t want to be left out by everyone else and just because lion is confident and loud, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a sensitive side.
So, like I tell my clients, we are a mixture of both. We have mouse and lion inside and that makes us who we are.
Which do you identify with? The mouse or lion?
Do you recognise that the other is in there somewhere too? Do you let others see it?
If not, why not?
“The Lion Inside” Rachel Bright and Jim Field