Management Tips

How do a lion, its pride and the need for validation influence our success?

Do you ever get the feeling you deserve more?

Let me ask you, are you a lion?

In the pride the alpha rules the pride, doesn’t he? He’s king. Has he worked hard to get there or was he born into the position? It doesn’t much matter how he got there, he’s there. One thing is for sure the alpha has to maintain his authority to remain on top. He can’t let up for a second. And with that authority comes the spoils; he eats first, he gets the choice kill and when he’s done only then can the young and females feed. The lion is entitled and his position in the pride predicates power and brutal energy. That is how he is respected and how he maintains it until a younger stronger challenger comes along. Don’t be fooled by that cute facade. Life in the wild, huh? It sounds merciless but somehow there is a recognizable visceral desire in life that we see emulated often.

What is wrong with this as a mentality?

Well first off we are not in the wild, are we? Although in our world today it certainly can seem that way. Getting to the top and staying there appears, on the surface, to be the way to do it doesn’t it? What else is there than top dog (or cat in this instance), superstar status, king of the hill? Position yourself well, look for the opportunities to advance and when the weak link exposes itself; strike. No mercy. Get there, take no prisoners, grab what you can along the way and when you get there expect to be rewarded. Eat first. Get your fill. It sounds enticing but is it?

Why does it rarely happen exactly that way and if it does why does it never feel like enough?

Ask this of yourself; what drives your desire to succeed?

  • Is it fame?
  • Is it money?
  • Is it another car in the driveway?

Is this what you expect?

  • Is it the opportunity to learn?
  • Is it making a difference in your industry?
  • Is it you ability to seek your purpose?

Or is this what you were meant to do?

Why do the first three questions seem so natural and the latter three not so much. Well, you can’t buy something with learning, you can’t turn sharing knowledge into rent and it is extremely rare to find purpose in your driveway. So, if you can’t convert it to the physical trappings of life right away then the value is difficult to ascertain. Intangibles like learning and purpose are difficult to monetize and it’s extremely difficult to set expectations around these intangibles. Unlike selling a widget, services or soliciting followers, likes or shares they rely on one thing alone; you and only you.

So, what’s really threatening your true success? Not the entitlement money, fame or the car brings but the things that really matter.

Do you ever feel threatened by your boss, your peers or your staff? Is the lion in you strong or is your pride viciously nipping at your heels? Do you ever feel like someone else is getting a break and even though you are working very hard it’s not you? How is your attitude toward your work? Are you there to fill time just waiting for something better or are you waiting for your opportunity to pounce? Are you doing less because you don’t feel recognized for your effort? Do you truly enjoy what you do? Have you ever thought “Why should I change if I’m not going to get anything out of it?”

Sure there a lot of fat cats, those alpha males with their big manes, who have worked themselves into positions of power. It’s inevitable and it won’t stop so why not just join them? It’s easier than trying to beat them. But be careful, they’re big, vicious and they are dangerous.

Do you see what’s wrong with this line of thinking?

Hell, it leads to frustration because when we think that way we are simply telling ourselves we cannot improve, learn to get better or change our station in life ourselves. We succumb to the survival of the fittest mentality. You are only so strong and thereby always looking for the weakest link. With this line of thinking we are simply comparing and not competing. We are part of the herd and we follow instead of leading. We wait to get the next break or promotion and when it doesn’t come we are bewildered.

What needs to change?

Well, forget about the lion and his pride. You don’t want to be him anyway. If you don’t buy it do a little research into a few of these corporate leaders; Anne Mulcahy, Lou Gerstner and Jack Welsh. Yeah, heavy, heavy hitters, I know, but the thing here is that they didn’t get handed the key to the executive club and lived a life of luxury. They built their success through hard work, continuous improvement and inclusionary involvement of their teams. They stood out because of their commitment and effort. There was never any guarantee that it would pay off but it is quite likely that these leadership professionals didn’t see their effort as a stepping stone to infamy. Entitlement was not the reason for their hard work. It was to help their people to see the value of their efforts.

Do you think it paid off for them? So, what about you?

How about taking off that suit of armor that you think is protecting you. When you wear that thing you are restricted in movement, resistant to change and you can only see in one direction, straight ahead. Having peripheral vision is essential to see the various angles of opportunity. When you shed that suit of armor you can move freely, you are much more flexible and you can see what is around you. Opening yourself up to learning and in turn providing value without worrying about the next rank and how fast you can get there has the potential to push you further exponentially.

Consider this well worn analogy; the harder you look for something that harder it is to see.

We all know there are no guarantees in life except the ones you make with yourself to learn as much as you can and provide as much value to the people in your life as you can. You will not get passed over for learning, making a difference and pursuing your purpose. On the contrary, you will get noticed. Your effort, positive attitude, inclusionary outlook and the value you bring will put you in a position of value to others.

They will notice.

And you both will be better for it.


  • How can you eliminate the need for validation to keep you on track?
  • How can you change your outlook to increase your value to your organization?
  • What do you do to help your peers succeed?

About rdopping

interior design guy who loves other stuff; social media, photography, film, food and anything that is good for the growth of the self


15 thoughts on “How do a lion, its pride and the need for validation influence our success?

  1. Great read, Ralph! I think you’re very much on to something here, bud. It’s really a matter of what are focusing most of our energy on, right? I have to admit, when I started out writing and blogging, my focus was on the numbers, and the comments, and the likes and what have you. I wasn’t really focused on what I was bringing to the table; which I believe is the case for most of us in this industry. However, there comes a point where we think to ourselves, “What is this all meaning for me?” I mean, are the likes, shares, and commenting, really doing anything for other people, or is it a way I use to get validation and a tinny bit of ego stroking. I have recently received a serious wake-up call as far as that is concerned. I have reached the conclusion that the validation should come from myself, and the validation should come from how much I have contributed. That validation won’t come if I’m not putting my best efforts out there, and I will never become the king of the pride that way. And by “pride”, I mean my own… I am the only one that I’m competing with; the old me should be the one I’m trying to outshine. The value we bring our best game on will render us our just reward. Thanks for the message mate! 🙂

    Posted by Deeone Higgs (@Deeone_Higgs) | May 11, 2012, 13:44
  2. Deeone,

    Thanks for your comments. You have certainly brought a different spin to this topic but an interesting and good one for sure. Suffice it to say that we need to be doing things in our lives that have meaning to us and we must always remember that our actions, however benign, affect those around us.

    I was getting on about feeling entitled to vs working hard for your achievements. You came at it in your own way and brought the message back full circle. Fantastic man. Cheers to you!

    Posted by rdopping | May 11, 2012, 16:03
  3. Hey Ralph,

    My drive to succeed is my goal and my dream to help others. My goal is to start a business and change the industry itself; I know it won’t happen easily, I would have to try hard, very long to achieve success. I am not doing this for any kind of validation; I just want to do it, I also want to help others through my business. As far as competition goes, I am not afraid of them. I am happy for them, because my competitors motivate me and inspire me.

    I also realize that life is not just about making ourselves happy; expecting great things from others (If we can expect it to happen from others, then why wait? Just make it happen!

    Thanks for the awesome thoughts, Ralph,


    Posted by Jeevan Jacob John | May 11, 2012, 16:11
    • Jeevan, nice to see you here.

      Thanks so much for coming by and for leaving your thoughts. You certainly have the right attitude toward your dreams. Might I ask what type of business you plan to go into? Whatever it is with the right tools and a learning mindset you will certainly achieve great things. good luck and drop by anytime.

      Posted by rdopping | May 12, 2012, 12:00
      • Right now I am planning to expand my blog and offer services to others (to build an online business). I am also planning to invest some money into building apps (I do have bunch of ideas on useful apps). My main goal is to build my own company – in the technology industry – not computers, laptops – but more on other types of technology used in daily devices such as cars to calculators and build more efficient and eco friendly products in these fields.

        Posted by Jeevan Jacob John | May 12, 2012, 18:39
  4. Everybody needs and will buy insurance, right? And even when we got kicked in the shorts by the economy over the last three years; everybody needs and will buy insurance, right? I certainly took a hit, but at the end of the day I knew I could still control my destiny. I know the effort it will take to reach my previous levels and also know me and only me can make it happen. Sales are quirky enough and it’s not always going to be fair, but there are enough pieces of it I can control to get the results I need.

    If it’s meant to be, it will be because of me………………….

    Posted by Bill Dorman (@bdorman264) | May 11, 2012, 16:38
    • Bill, as usual your self worth is your greatest asset. Thanks for coming by. I have to say you are one solid committed guy. Without fail I can always rely on your comments here. For that, I cannot thank you enough….well….anyway. Right you are. It starts and end with you and if you aren’t committed to it then no one else will be around you. Just the fact that you work hard, make your end and share your experiences puts you leaps and bounds ahead of the game. being a good person helps too. Like you said no one likes a dick.

      I often wonder why someone would choose selling insurance as a livelihood. I can’t be critical because you have to be a masochist to work in interior design and architecture. I do it because I loooooove it, right? 😉

      Posted by rdopping | May 12, 2012, 12:07
  5. We-elllll… first I love this. The lion photo and pride headline are attention grabbing. So is looking at corporate leaders.

    That being said, count on me to offer a fresh perspective.

    Ever heard the phrase “own your niche” ?

    To me that’s like saying EVERYONE can be the alpha-king of the pride, in their own niche. It’s not about fighting for dominance or comparison to others, it’s about carving your own niche out in the world and standing proud 🙂

    At least… that’s how I see it 🙂

    Posted by ryzeonline | May 12, 2012, 12:16
    • Jason, see?

      That’s what I LOVE about this platform. Some healthy inspiring discourse. Thanks buddy. So, here’s the deal, with some of the comments I have received so far I am starting to undertand that I need to hone my writing to make my point more clear or it could be that people choose to interpret the ideas their own way. BOTH are good and both will help me get better at this.

      This piece is really meant to examine entitlement. To me, entitlement is the kiss of death. So, yes, own your niche and own it hardcore! But don’t EXPECT something because of it. The only expectation is that you work your ass off for what you want and the by-product of that is success which only you can define.

      You get that! I know you do and I know we see this thing the same way. Thanks for challenging this. Keep it up because with fantastic folk like you around life is only able to be exciting.

      Posted by rdopping | May 12, 2012, 12:28
      • 100% agreed. Thanks for being open and receiving my views so well man. It feels great.

        It was mostly me interpreting, I just wanted to go on a tangent so I could share something different and fresh 😛

        What a team over here 😀 Good group 🙂

        Entitlement is a really interesting topic… hmm… I *expect* to have air to breathe, and the sun to rise.

        Does that count as an expectation? Does it count as entitlement? Am I entitled to breathe?

        Posted by ryzeonline | May 12, 2012, 18:27
        • You are absolutely entitled to breathe my friend. Just don’t expect me to respect anyone if they don’t work for it and vice versa. That’s my philosophy and I’m sticking to it……;-)

          Posted by rdopping | May 13, 2012, 08:11


  1. Pingback: What can we learn about managing stress from a cheesy Hollywood comedy? « the view from here - May 15, 2012

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