A Fierce New Year

For New Year’s Day, Tolga insisted he take Emerson and me to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to see the lions.  He’s been talking about the lions in that habitat ever since a colleague treated him to lunch there.

He even found YouTube videos of lions and made me watch them. My microscopic watchdog Bambi, a chihuahua, watched them with us, ears up and in an alerted stance, determined to protect us from those animals on the screen. Too cute.

So off we went–Tolga, me and my 18 year old son–to have New Year’s Day lunch near some powerful felines. (For some reason I felt like I was cheating on my dog.)

Lion feet on the plexiglass above us

The habitat has two sections with a viewing pathway that goes through it so visitors can see both sides.  When the lions cross from one side to another, they sometimes climb over the glassed in section where the visitors stand. This is what it looked like from my vantage point.

It was thrilling to me, just as Tolga anticipated it would be.  Majestic indeed.

These two lionesses are still cubs. They were tinkering with plastic things, sometimes even playing tug-of-war. But when they grow up, they don’t play games any more. They fight to kill.

You can see from the onlookers that I wasn’t the only one awed by the lions; they have a lot of magnetism. In a book I’m reading right now called, “Executive Presence: The Art of Commanding Respect Like a CEO,” Harrison Monarth uses the lion analogy to teach a powerful point.

The male lion isn’t the smartest animal in the jungle; great apes, elephants, and parrots are all more intelligent. Nor is he the largest animal, or, for that matter, the largest cat (the tiger is.) He isn’t even the best hunter among his own pride; it’s his female mate that tracks and subdues his prey. Why is the male lion considered the kind of the jungle? Because he has an impressive mane and an even more impressive roar.

This doesn’t mean the lion is a fraud: If called upon, he can back up that roar in spades. However, what makes the lion special is the combination of his genuine power with an image and related behavior that effectively communicates that power to the world.

That’s precisely why I am reading Executive Leadership – to program my brain for the new year. My entire life I set New Year’s resolutions that revolved around education, kindness, forgiveness, turning the other cheek, enriching family relations, health, compassion, sweetness, helping children, being more organized and financially wise, homemaking, being more feminine, a better mom, more selfless, serving others and other peaceful things based on the Christian values I was taught as a child.

I can’t remember ever setting a resolution to be more fierce, to stand my ground, to demand respect in business, to cut people out of my life, to use the legal system to fight back, and to fight to win.  Ever.

This year, however, is different. I have to fight to take my dreams back, and so I am. I’m launching a new tech company, a new production company, and a new life.

This year, I will be a lion.

Don’t cross me.


Effective immediately.


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