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?