Oh, the battles we wage…inside.
I once saw a meme that read:
I’m not so sure I’d describe my soul as “difficult,” but I take conflicts that arise there seriously. I try to use all my coachy, self-help techniques to evolve into a “better person,” whatever that may mean.
There is a distinct possibility I’m using my soul as a canvas, splashing pretty colours, making mistakes and gessoing over them again. Just waiting, hoping a worthy masterpiece will emerge. (click to Tweet).
There’s a tale I occasionally share when I work with leadership groups. This week, I’ve told it twice to artists, so I maybe I need a broader audience. Here it goes…
One evening, an elderly Cherokee brave told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside of people, even him. He said, “My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is evil. It is angry, envious, jealous, sorrowful, regretful, greedy, arrogant, full of self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is good. It is joyful, peaceful, loving, hopeful, serene, full of humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then he asked, “Grandfather which wolf wins?…”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one I feed.”
The one I feed.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about my own hungry wolves. The choice is mine which to feed. Sometimes, even knowing the consequences, I wander off the beaten path, into the thick of the woods and pitch a fine rib roast squarely in the slobbering jaws of the mean and evil wolf. Oh, how it feasts with delight! It becomes stronger, robust and is able to exert its power over the good wolf.
Sometimes I am a little wiser and remember to give the lion’s share to the good wolf. Things usually go well when I nurture the good wolf. He, in turn, protects me.
Consider yourself in the following circumstances. What is the outcome when the good wolf is in charge, verses the bad wolf? Their voices are quite different.
- You are analyzing your work
- You need encouragement to build a strong business
- You seek courage to take risks
- The outcome of a venture is unexpected
- People you meet, perhaps difficult people, require your grace
- You focus on gratitude for the gifts you’ve been given
- You must patiently wait for an anticipated outcome
- Others need the generosity of your time or resources
How do these situations vary given which wolf is being fed? How would the outcome be different if you fed only the good “wolf?” Could you even do that? It’s something to think about.
I, for one, am putting the ugly wolf on a diet. Lately, he’s a bit of a butterball (click to Tweet). If I do it right, maybe I can starve him, weaken him, cage him, enslave him…whoops, I think I went over the line. Well, awareness is the first step.
Feed your instincts!
Michelle Andres is a writer, artist and coach who nudges, nay, shoves, her clients in the direction of their dreams, helping them to overcome non-productive behaviours and enjoy more success in their lives.
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