I was in London last week for a company event, and had the privilege to attend a 1-hour motivational speech by Jim Lawless (quite a momentous name indeed!) who I did not know before that moment (he’s author of ‘10 Rules For Taming Tigers‘).
Jim has a pretty amazing (and funny) story to tell about his life.
And it all started when, at 35 years of age and overweight, an accomplished and well-off lawyer (yeah, I know, Mr. Lawless is a Lawyer… ☺) Jim made a 1£ (yes, one pound) bet with one of his clients that, within 12 months, he would have become a professional jockey and admitted to participate in a regular competition.
To state it with Jim’s words ‘the most I had seen of horses until then were the nice clips on TV and the occasional farm animals…’.
I guess that (to use Dante Alighieri’s expression), something pushed Jim (well in the middle of his life) to do something extraordinary, that would eventually change the rest of his existence in unanticipated ways.
To cut a long story short (you can go visit his own web site to read more about him), Jim started off in a quite disenchanted way, discovering that he really did not know anything (not anything useful to him at any rate) about how to ride horses!
The moment he switched gears was when he realized that he’d never done it alone and started reaching out to other people who, in the past, achieved handsome professional accomplishments in the world of horse-riding competitions.
One of these people told him simply ‘It is possible, and I’ll help you! We’ll start tomorrow morning at 7…’.
Little did Jim know that this journey would have brought him to dramatically change his lifestyle for the coming 12 months, riding for several hours each day in the early mornings (except those days when he had to go to the hospital to tend to some minor injuries), refining his skills whenever he got spare time after the day-job and revolutionizing his diet to meet the strict weight criteria to become a professional jockey in the UK.
What he DID know was that he was focused on ‘making it’, on winning his bet, not for the sake of winning it, but for the sake of demonstrating to himself first that he, just to be self-referential, was Not Here To Break Even and that he could do more, achieve more, be more.
After 12 months, Jim Lawless became the first non-professional jockey to be allowed to participate in an official horse-riding competition in the UK (the picture below will take you to a nice YouTube video from that competition).
From that moment, something had changed within Jim. Simply, he could NOT stop challenging himself.
It was like his brain and his body asked for more now that they had the proof they needed that they could DO more.
In not too a long period of time after the horse-riding competition, Jim became the first UK diver to break the 100 meters mark in apnea.
Quite remarkable for a 35 years old, overweight lawyer with little history of ever being good at any sport activity.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Jim has since become an acclaimed and sought-after motivational speaker and author, who keeps repeating the incessant message he has formulated as some sort of personal mantra – we all have tigers to tame.
The tigers in our own minds, those scary, fast and extremely strong and fierce animals who paralyze our steps when we need to make a decision, or when we need to take a step and get into action towards our goals.
Tigers represent our ‘irrational fears’ of things that may or may never come to do us any harm.
Jim tells about 3 main categories of fear: physical harm, financial harm, and reputational harm.
In his own life and wealth of collected experiences having talked and mentored and motivated thousands of people globally, Jim highlights how the vast majority of these fears will never come to be.
When confronted with doing something new, our primal instincts take over and our brain starts creating monstrous images and shadows of dreadful things to come (the tigers).
“If I do start creating a business, something bad is going to happen to me…” (physical fear)
“If I do start creating a business, I may lose my job and steady source of income!” (financial fear)
“If I do start creating a business, I may fail!” (reputational fear)
Truth is that of the 3 categories of fear, only the third one may have a legitimate grip on our brain, but not quite in the way we would expect.
In fact, says Jim, reputation is something we all put at stake every single day, whether we do something or not. Come to think of it, the same is pretty much true for the other two categories of fear…
The only difference in taking action is that you may indeed get close to being successful… and that per se scares most of people!
So… how do YOU tame your tigers?
Here’s 10 practical and powerful rules, proven in many businesses and in the author’s own horse racing and free diving experiments.
Rule 1. ACT BOLDLY TODAY – TIME IS LIMITED
Rule 2. RE-WRITE YOUR RULEBOOK – CHALLENGE IT HOURLY
Rule 3. HEAD IN THE DIRECTION OF WHERE YOU WANT TO ARRIVE, EVERY DAY
Rule 4. IT’S ALL IN THE MIND
Rule 5. THE TOOLS FOR TAMING TIGERS ARE ALL AROUND YOU
Rule 6. THERE IS NO SAFETY IN NUMBERS
Rule 7. DO SOMETHING SCARY EVERYDAY
Rule 8. UNDERSTAND AND CONTROL YOUR TIME TO CREATE CHANGE
Rule 9. CREATE DISCIPLINES – DO THE BASICS BRILLIANTLY
Rule 10. NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP!
Our stories all have different beginnings. But there comes a point when we can seize the pen and write our story.
Taming Tigers doesn’t offer short cuts or quick fixes. It offers everything you need to find the desire, confidence and courage to do things you never thought you could. (You can visit Amazon to purchase a copy of the book)
To test Taming Tigers, Jim went from overweight consultant to televised jockey in a year and he has entered the record books as the first Briton to free dive below 100m.
The Ten Rules have been used in companies from San Francisco to Bangkok, from Apple to Virgin.
Use these rules to your advantage and partner with us to take the needed action, motivation and knowledge to build a lifestyle and a business you love with SFM.
Start with Rule #1: ACT BOLDLY TODAY – TIME IS LIMITED.