Column: Lion tamers and dragon slayers

Posted 8/23/22

When we think about lions, we might think about a fierce beast, the king of the jungle, roaming the Sahara in their majestic form. Or maybe the only time we have seen a lion is at the zoo or in a …

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Column: Lion tamers and dragon slayers


When we think about lions, we might think about a fierce beast, the king of the jungle, roaming the Sahara in their majestic form. Or maybe the only time we have seen a lion is at the zoo or in a movie. Either way, there is no mistaking their roar and their incredible strength.

What about the lion tamers, what comes to mind when we think of them? Someone controlling the lion with a whip and a stool. Again, maybe we have seen live shows where the lion tamer commands the great beasts and controls them as we watch from the arena or from our TV.

In a sense we are all lion tamers as we try and control our own metaphorical lions. What are those lions in our life that may need controlling, and if not controlled can lead us down dark and desperate roads, or certainly lead us astray from our journey toward success? The lions are those things we can control, whether it’s controlling ourselves and how we react or respond to things and the habits we have. If the habits are bad, we still have the power to control them.

If they are good habits, we may still have room to improve or simply not backslide. When thinking about taming our lions, it comes down to our willingness and decision to make the necessary changes and then take the required action steps to keep those lions tamed. A lion is a very beautiful yet dangerous beast. The lion can either dominate us with fear, or we can learn how to keep those lions in our life in check.

Here are some, and you probably have a few of your own. Anger, impatience, bad habits, instant gratification, urge to always be right, talking more than listening, being a know-it-all, not prioritizing faith, family, and friends, indulgences, obsessions, not saying “no” enough, lack of forgiveness. And any one of these lions when not tamed or controlled can absolutely wreak havoc in our life and destroy relationships. At times we all must accept our role as a lion tamer.

The dragon is a fire-breathing, flying beast that is terrifying. The dragon looks to kill and destroy. The dragon is recognized as evil. Although there have been some light-hearted movies about dragons, in this illustration let’s stick with the evil ones, because they are the ones that do the most damage.

That leads us to the dragon slayer. We see the dragon slayer as brave, shield and sword in hand, and most times in a shining suit of armor riding on a big and beautiful horse as they courageously seek the battle with the dragon. Their mission is not to control or tame, their mission is to slay the dragon.

We become dragon slayers when we identify those things and people in our life that we just need to remove. The metaphorical dragons in our life are many times either found within our hearts or in between our ears. Or they are found in such a bad habit, a habit that cannot be tamed or moderated, but a bad habit that needs to be slayed. Then there are those people in our lives, they are our family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and others who are close to us. Some are fellow dragon slayers, who will go into battle with us to help us overcome challenging times or hardships. Some need a dragon slayer because they may not be up for the fight themselves. And then there are those other people-dragons who cause us stress through their negative attitude, condescending remarks, and toxic influence or input in our lives.

How about you? Are there lions in your life that need to be tamed? Are there dragons in your life that need to be slayed? Do you need a fellow dragon slayer to help you in the battle? I would love to hear your story at, and when we can be a lion tamer or a dragon slayer as needed, it really will be a better than good life.

Michael Norton is an author, a personal and professional coach, consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator of individuals and businesses, working with organizations and associations across multiple industries.


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