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What We Can Learn About Leadership From Wolves

Career Advice |

A CEO I am working with recently expressed a comment that really got me thinking. He said: “I don’t get it sometimes. One day I am a king and the next day a chump.”

How does this happen to us? What do we or others feed our minds that allows this to happen?


Life is filled with paradox: praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and pain. Within each of us is the capacity for creating heaven or hell. This story about two wolves reminds us that in every moment that choice is up to us:

An elder Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside you, and the inside of every other person too.”

They thought about it for a minute, and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee replied simply, “The one you feed.”

Are you half-full or half-empty? We all have “lack thoughts.” It is when we give them our attention and we focus on our problems that the universe sends more of the same.

When we shift our focus to the positive, we raise our consciousness. All great blessings are present in your thoughts right now, if you feed them. As Lou Holtz said, “Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.”

Start by examining your mental clutter. Make a list of the old convictions, fears, negative assumptions, past mistakes, and depressing voices that weigh you down. Get rid of that first wolf; commit to letting these go.

Next make a commitement to write down three good things that happen every day. Make note of what you are grateful for, proud of, or learned from. You will start to see a pattern of good in your life.

These are the voices you want feeding your mind. They will not only lead to increased optimism and happiness, but success and by extension your influence as a team leader.

Whenever the negative voices start-up, congratulate yourself and say; “go away; I must be about ready to live up to my potential.” Stand guard at the door of your mind and be careful which voice you let in.

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THIS IS AWESOME. Feed the positive wolf!


Simply thinking or saying to yourself that you will make a change isn't always enough, although it's better than nothing; but physically writing down positive aspects of your day/week/life is an awesome first step to transforming your state of mind for the best.


I really like this story, because I think it's important to have control over the bad feelings like pride or resentment. A lot of times, when I feel bad, I blame it on other people and use them as an excuse not to change the way I feel. Sometimes people are going to do bad things, but it's important to remember that I alone have control over how I deal with them.


I love this advice. I like keeping a pick-me-up folder on my computer full of nice emails and records of accomplishments that remind me of my successes when I'm feeling down.


Keeping your mind off of negative thoughts and focusing on the positive is a great way to promote success internally and externally! A happier mind is a healthier mind, and healthier minds are more likely to succeed in life, and the workplace!