Two Wolves and Your Business

howling wolfHave you heard the story of the two wolves that a grandfather tells his grandson? (no, this isn’t a set up for a joke)

If you’re not familiar with the story, here it is:

An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, “Let me tell you a story.

I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.

But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.”

He continued, “It is as if there are two wolves inside me.

One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.

But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing.

Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”

The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one I feed.”

As I was thinking about this story I thought about the stories we tell ourselves. When you talk with others about how your day went or how you’re doing, you tell a story. When you’re reviewing how an event or meeting went, you’re telling a story. When you’re thinking about your to-do list or planning your day, you’re telling a story. When you talk about how your business is doing, you’re telling a story.

It’s how we’re all wired. It’s not bad, it’s not good, it just is.

Our stories feed us and that determines which wolf gets fed. Are you telling stories of an angry world full of people out to get you, or are you telling stories of a friendly place where there’s enough for everyone?

And what about the stories other people tell? Do they feed you? Yes, if you let them. It’s like someone serving you dinner. If you don’t like it you can be “polite” and eat it anyway – or not. Is it rude to not eat what’s in front of you? Well, if you have a peanut allergy and someone gives you food with peanuts in it, is it rude to not eat it? No, it’s not. Determining whose stories you listen to is similar. It’s okay to say “I don’t agree” or find another conversation.

So, for your business – what are you feeding it? What stories do you tell yourself and others about it? And are those the stories that you want to feed your business?

And what stories are you letting other people feed you and your business? Where do you find yourself agreeing with someone without thinking about it?

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