From Caged to Confident: 5 lessons from a zoo lion’s release into the wild

Written by Arno Jansen

Imagine a majestic lion confined within the walls of a zoo. To all who come to see it, it appears magnificent and powerful, a symbol of strength. Yet, deep within its own heart, the lion knows that this life is not its destiny. This zoo lion, like so many of us, finds itself trapped within the boundaries of its own making, longing for something more.

You may be living a life that, feels comfortable and secure. A steady job perhaps, or a routine that you’ve grown accustomed to and have been doing for years. Maybe you run your own business and it is going well enough. But just like that lion in the zoo, you might feel a peculiar blend of comfort and discomfort. Deep within, you know that there’s more to life than what you’re experiencing right now.

You see, the lion knew that it was meant for something greater. It understood that its true home was not within the confines of a cage, but out in the vast expanse of the savanna. The wild lions, free and untamed, roam freely, hunting for their own food, and every day brings new adventures and challenges.

The zoo lion in our story begins to dream of such freedom. It imagins itself running through the savanna, feeling the wind on its face, and experiencing the thrill of the hunt. But there is a catch – it has become so accustomed to the predictability of its life within the cage that the idea of true freedom was both exhilarating and intimidating.

Then, one day, the zoo lion’s world changes and the zoo ceases to exist and releases all its animals into the wild. The moment has come for our zoo lion to finally experience the freedom it had yearned for. But as it stepped out into the vast wilderness, something unexpected happened.

The lion didn’t revel in its newfound freedom; it felt overwhelmed by it. The endless possibilities and the responsibility to fend for itself left it paralyzed with uncertainty. What it had once dreamed of, now felt like a burden.

A sense of comfort mixed with discomfort.

In the wild, no two days were the same, and the lion often found itself alone, struggling to secure its next meal. It began to question whether this was truly freedom. If you have to work so hard just to eat, can you really call yourself free?

Years of struggle followed. The lion faced challenges, learned to adapt, and slowly but surely, it began to understand the essence of true freedom.

You see, this lion’s journey is not so different from yours and mine. When you step into the world of self-startership, whether as a solopreneur, freelancer, or creator, it can be daunting. The allure of freedom and independence is strong, but it often comes with its own set of challenges and sacrifices.

Working for yourself requires dedication, perseverance, and the willingness to embrace the unknown. It might not always be as comfortable as the routines you’ve grown accustomed to, or a regular paycheck. And there will be moments when you question if this is the right path. But it’s in these moments of discomfort that you truly grow.

So, as you embark on your journey to become a “wild lion” of self-startership, remember these 5 lessons:

  1. Embrace Uncertainty: Just like the lion in the wild, your path will be unpredictable. But it’s in this unpredictability that you discover your true potential.
  2. Learn to Adapt: Your adaptability is your greatest asset. The lion had to learn new skills to survive in the wild, and you too will need to adapt and evolve in your chosen field. You may even change fields a couple of times until you find an environment that fits you.
  3. Seek Your Support: Seek out a supportive community, a coach or a mastermind of fellow self-starters who understand your journey and can provide guidance and encouragement along the way.
  4. Discover True Freedom: True freedom is not the absence of challenges. Its not some massive number in your bank account. It is not True freedom is the ability to choose your own challenges voluntarily and then commit to overcoming them and shape your life that way. Embrace those challenges as opportunities for growth.
  5. Stay Committed: Just as the lion eventually found its way in the wild, you too will find a path that suits you. Set goals to give yourself direction, stay committed to them. Having a clear direction makes it much easier to deal with setbacks along the way.

To wrap this up: the journey to becoming a self-starter is not always easy, but it is immensely rewarding. That is what it is all about the journey, not the destination.

Embrace the challenges, learn from them, and watch yourself transform into the powerful, untamed force you were always meant to be.

So, roar with the confidence of a lion on the savanna. Your true freedom and potential await you.

I’m rooting for you! 🙌

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