Two Wolves and a Turtle – Leadership is a Choice #21

Jessica Soroky continues her series Leadership is a Choice.

 One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside all people…He said, “My son, the battle is between two “wolves” inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

I came across this short, but powerful story recently and almost instantly I had a breakthrough. The weirdest part is the breakthrough I had wasn’t a new breakthrough. It was as if I had seen this mystical, magical wonderland once and then returned back to the “normal” world only to wonder how do I find that place again; was it even real?

This breakthrough was finding that place again. Apply the same logic to The Leadership Gift Program material.

One wolf is below the line. It is denial, resistance, blame, anger, self-torture, shame, guilt, obligation, resentment, and at effect.

The other is Responsibility — above the line. It is free, powerful, at choice, self-accountable, limitless, self-actualizing, and clear.

There is not only a long, extended war the two are fighting but there are tiny battles each and every time we are presented with a problem or upset. Taking it even further there is a battle, a chance for one to win over the other, every time we open our mouths.

The story is about my favorite concept, choice. The wolf that will win is determined by us, our choice to feed that wolf.

Metaphors help us to find and see our personal responsibility. They help me visualize my practice when I am confronted with an opportunity to practice.

Personal responsibility is the most rewarding and equally challenging practice of my entire life, BUT that doesn’t mean that it always has to be so serious. So, in recent upsets, I have tried to laugh at myself a little. When I feel the anger begin to boil, I play with the idea that I must really be feeding the below-the-line wolf.

What if I instead chose to feed the Responsibility wolf? What if I was aware I was feeding the below-the-line wolf and instead of feed it more by beating myself up I simply allowed. In this moment I am aware I am feeding the below-the-line wolf. That’s ok. I am ok. When I am ready I will choose to feed the Responsibility wolf.

In the meantime, while I know I am not feeding the Responsibility wolf, I will consciously choose to impact those around me as little as possible. I call this “Turtle Time”.

“Turtle Time” is another way I try to stop taking myself so seriously. It is the mental place I go when I am not ready to own it in order to not project on or impact others. I go inside my shell and cleanse. I meditate and sometimes even do aerial yoga in my shell (it’s a big shell).

My turtle shell is also the place I go when my anxiety takes over and instead of fighting it I just want to let it be. It is my ultimate form of confront. It is just me safely in my shell, not impacting others, or caring what they think so that I can look at me.

I practice awareness first. Which wolf am I already feeding? OK, which wolf do I want to feed? If they aren’t the same can I choose right now to switch and feed the other? I know I can, so the next question is will I?

If the willingness is not there yet, instead of stressing, punishing, and hating myself to become willing, I choose to allow, trusting that when I am ready, I will. My mental place of trust, my turtle shell is the best and only place I have found that allows me to ruthlessly confront me.

These blogs, participating on The Leadership Gift Program Application Mastery and Q&A Dialog calls, working with fellow coaches and Bill, all of those are examples of inviting people into my turtle shell to help me confront me.

It is here, in this playful metaphor in my mind that I am limitless, that I am feeding Responsibility with such dedication, force, and momentum that I am truly able to do what ever I want.

I invite you to stop taking yourself so seriously and ask, “Which wolf will you feed?”


Jessica Soroky, CSM

IMG_3285Jessica is a Certified Scrum Master with over three years of practice in agile delivery and seven years of team leadership. She is also the youngest participant in The Leadership Gift™ Program and its growing worldwide community of leaders and coaches. After five years of non-profit development through Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, Jessica continues her leadership journey in state government, not-for-profit, and private sector leadership studies.


For Businesses Partnerwerks provides a unique, proven model that ignites cultures of self-direction and ownership.

Posted in Responsibility on 07/27/2015 01:53 pm
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