Here Kitty, Kitty: Unleash the Tiger Within You

In April, my last month working for The Company, blogger Pamela Slim released her book Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur. Given the timing of the release with my corporate departure, I took it as a sign that this was a path I should explore and ordered the book. As promised, it provided solid transitional advice, and I’ve enjoyed reading it. That some of that advice applies beautifully to any life transition was a delightful and unexpected bonus.

Take, for example, the section titled “Find Your Inner Tiger.” Ms. Slim describes the inner tiger as “the life force that propels us toward an active, open, engaging, healthy, and fulfilling life.” She believes it’s with us at birth, but for myriad reasons, this inner tiger gets squished by life. (She described it more profoundly than “squished.”)

Surely, I’m not alone in seeing how this inner tiger could be useful in achieving a healthier self. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and declare that without my own inner tiger roaring in my ear (even if I didn’t know at the time that that’s what it was), I surely would have never lost 100 pounds.

So where’s the catnip, right? According to Ms. Slim, whose suggestions are in bold type below, these are the steps:

Acknowledge that it is there. That seems simple enough, but when you’ve been through the try-and-fail cycle a few dozen times, it’s hard to believe that unrelenting desire is still within in. We become more like the old tiger at the zoo, the one sprawled out in the corner of his cage, merely watching the pedestrian protein walk by. Somewhere within us, though, is that fiercely cunning and menacing tiger, ever prowling for the first opportunity to attack. You may sometimes feel that you don’t have it in you, that you’re past it, but somewhere inside you, it’s there. You want to attack life, not just survive it. Say hello to your inner tiger.

Pay attention to your body If I’ve learned nothing else in the past two years, I’ve learned that my body is the Western Union of my existence. Whether I’m stressed or bored or not eating properly (or any combination of the above), my body sends me the signals I need to take care of myself. It lets me know when it would benefit from a brisk walk or an early night to bed or a green vegetable or three. I just have to pay attention to it.

Stop with the mind-numbing substances. Excessive amounts of alcohol, caffeine, or chocolate mask our ability to make wise decisions. When we eliminate the excess from our lives, we have greater clarity. Makes it so much easier to find that tiger.

Agree to take action. Oh yeah, action. I tried wishing away 100 pounds, but it didn’t work so well. Results required that I actually do something to achieve them. That something didn’t have to be big (and usually wasn’t in my early days), but I did have to commit to doing something every single day to move along the path to a healthier me. Nothing makes that inner tiger roar like action, lemme tell ya. Once it gets a taste, it only wants more!

Own up to your lies. Once I removed the arrow from the middle of my forehead after reading this, I didn’t need long to realize that what I thought was reality was nothing more than a pack of comforting lies I told myself.

  • Yes, my job was stressful and left me feeling drained at the end of the day. But not so drained that I couldn’t pick up a fork or open a bag of chips or drive to the corner store for a couple of Little Debbie Swiss Rolls.
  • Yes, my on-the-go life was hectic and made “fast food” the most logical option on many days. But did that mean I had to order the chicken strips, waffle fries, and brownie at Chick-fil-A when the grilled chicken salad was right there on the menu?
  • And sure, my family and friends do love to celebrate almost every special occasion with a hearty meal. How did that explain the other 350+ days each year that I overate?

Lies, all lies I told myself to explain why it was impossible to lose weight. Lies that kept that inner tiger behind bars and in the corner for far too many years.

But that was before. I believe Pamela Slim is on to something with this inner tiger business, especially the part about each of us having one within us. It’s there, it’s powerful, and it’s ready to be unleashed! My greatest wish for each of you is that you find it and that you let it out of the cage, but as I learned, wishes aren’t actions and that’s why I wrote this post. :)

Make any sense? Are you keeping your inner tiger in chains or behind bars? Any ideas for the actions you’ll take to unleash it?


0 thoughts on “Here Kitty, Kitty: Unleash the Tiger Within You

  1. ROWR!

    Your thoughts on the "tired tiger in the zoo" makes me think of Charles Siebert and his article "Where Have All the Animals Gone?" (it's great if you're interested in animal issues and the problems with zoos).

    There are so many excuses we can pull out for why not to be healthy- but they can all be refuted. There ARE no excuses. If we care about ourselves, if we care about others, if we care about a quality LIFE, then health should really take number one priority for the majority of the time. It's as simple as that.

    Thanks for the inspiring words, Cammy!

  2. Your title for this post maked me laugh and thinking it might not be a good thing to Unleash the "Tiger" within me… I don't think The Husband would appreciate that very much.

  3. GREAT POST! My fitness/exercise tiger has been unleashed but my everyday, run of the mill, what should I do with my life tiger is in hiding! Really good stuff here!

  4. to quote kimberly, "rawr!" you and ms. slim are right, cammy, we are stronger than we know. but what's that about cutting out chocolate?!

  5. Makes a lot of sense to me! I was the queen of excuses for a long time, and learning to be honest with myself was so important!

    Great post.

  6. Great post, Cammy – so true! Glad you found your inner tiger.

    P.S. Do tigers really like catnip???

  7. That makes sense to me. I do feel like there is a force in there capable of accomplishing interesting, difficult things– but it is oddly easy to smother it with dumb stuff, the equivalent of hopping-in-the-car-for-junk-food behavior, even if the goal is not specifically food related. And listening to self is always valuable. Thanks for posting this.

  8. Great post. I can relate to the Tiger at the zoo and excuses. I just thought this morning I need to go back to old post and see if I've lost any weight at all this year.

  9. I really needed this post today. Thank you, Cammy, for reminding me that there is a tiger just roaring to get out. Another great post, and very inspiring!

  10. WOW!!! My inner tiger just perked up her ears!
    With that imagery working for me, I do suddenly feel waaaay more powerful this morning. :)

    Thank you for this post — it's exactly the right message for me today. Feel like I've just opened the best present. :)

  11. The last part about the lies is so powerful. Lately, I've pretty much given up. Too often, I use my 12 hour day as an excuse to just grab something quick and then since I'm "getting fast food anyway" I might as well enjoy it… It's a messy cycle and this was just the wake-up call I needed!