Is your inner tiger choking on a short leash?

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tigerWatching my two year old scream, yell, laugh and uninhibitedly cavort these last few days inspired this month’s ezine article about how we let our natural spirit and creativity get caged by social pressures, limiting beliefs and the dulling rhythms of everyday life.

I recount one of my favorite martial arts stories about the time I watched a slight, shy little boy turn into a raging tiger in front of his whole school.

And I am curious if you have chained your own tiger up for any of the following reasons:

  • We are told at an early age that our fire and passion are not “appropriate”
  • We see others around us conforming to a “safe” life and we don’t want to stand out
  • We tell ourselves lies to feel better

I offer some solutions in the full article here – check it out and let me know what you think.  And as usual, add your own tips here!

7 Responses to “Is your inner tiger choking on a short leash?”

  1. Olivia says:

    Hi Pam, yesterday I got fired. Never in my life have I ever been fired !! And the main reason? I was employed by a franchise that scripted every word you’d ever speak, no proactivity or even a brain required. No opinions allowed. No, here they want dumb sheep. If you have an inner tiger, never work for a franchise who will want to mould you into their scripted zombie. I actually thought I was doing well. I constantly swallowed my opinions and just smiled. I squashed my natural wit. (I needed money!) To no avail, I was told that I’m a natural leader and not good for teamwork, and that even though I applied for a part time position (they knew I have a 3yo), somehow part time to them translated to 6 hours per day, six days a week. (I suppose officially its only 4 hours from a 40 hour week so it was still within “part time”) – but I couldn’t get child care six days a week! Pam, your “inner tiger” post made perfect sense to me. I’m creative, I have a strong personality and a quick mind and I’ll never try to earn some extra dollars this way again. I’ve got to learn how to market a business and get my own off the ground. I still feel demoralised at being “fired” (after three weeks!!), but in my heart of hearts, I know I’m too passionate, too different to conform any longer (I worked in the corporate world for 17 years). So its swim or swim for my young business. However deep inside I still feel like a failure for not having been able to conform. Go figure. Thanks for letting me vent (sorry!).

  2. Releasing the Inner Tiger

    This one is a bit more personal than usual, so feel free to skip it if it makes you uncomfortable.Today I was reading Pamela Slim’s blog, Escape from Cubicle Nation. In the article I was reading, “Is…

  3. PunditMom says:

    Again, another amazing topic that seems to hit home on so many levels. Even those of us trying to do all these things have more to work on and this was a powerful reminder and motivator!

  4. Anon says:


    I am hold a highly paid job by my country standards (India) in a multi national company but have for the past two years felt what you have given words to in your post. I have symptoms that have become really difficult to handle now!

    So much that I have started living a dual life almost and the outcome is a small software product company that i have floated on the web. This has given me a tiny satisfaction in one sense but has also created an immense strain due to the juggling.

    I have given myself till end of July 07 to take the final decision as i would enter my 10th year of working for a corporate office. I sincerely wish that i am able to let my inner tiger roar when the time arrives !

  5. Steve Tylock says:

    This echoes my own observations – of others and personally. For too many years I told myself that if I just reached [insert another milestone], I’d be set and could do what I really wanted.

    I stepped out on my own in January 2006, and have been making my way since then without much of a safety net – and having a ball.

    Be careful though – if you start bringing your non-work passions to life, you may no longer be able to repress your inner professional and just come to work 8-5 driving along some nondescript path to who knows where…-)

  6. Pam,

    Love the topic. I write about passion – the need for passionate pursuits – if not 100% alignment with what you do. Meaning, if your passion is to play and coach basketball – maybe you won’t do it professionally but do not supplant that as some future goal – do it now.

    On the other hand, if you can match your most passionate pursuit with your business/career – all the better.

    Also, don’t be frightened or stalled if what you are passionate about changes over time. You can adjust your career and life accordingly.

    The thing you cannot do is disregard your passion as ridiculous or meaningless. I believe that is the death knell of life.

    Some post I have about passion. I think you and your readers will appreciate the lyrics I posted in the first entry – from the Shawn Mullins song, “Something to Believe In”. Shawn is the musician who had a hit in the late ‘90’s with his song Lullaby (Rockabye).

    Another passion post:

    Monsoon Lessons and the Appearance of Spadefoot – what obscure desert amphibians and looking for them can tell us about passion


  7. Susie Wee says:

    Great post, Pam! As a manager, I want my people to discover their passions and use them at work, since they will be 10x happier and 10x more productive! I view management as a job of discovering and aligning passions. However, I’ve found that at first many employees are hesitant about bringing their passions to work, and that some feel guilty about it and think that it’s wrong. As you point out in the article, it seems that fire and passion gets wiped out of people at a young age. But even if a person manages to keep it when they get older, they may still need a reminder that they can and should use their passions at work!