"In the Skin of a Lion"
"You gotta spend money to make money."
It's a phrase I hear in my dad's voice every time I'm about to make a big purchase that might be pushing things financially. And it's true! Just made another one of those purchases last night (a webcam to up the quality of Twitch show).
There's a lot of tension that comes with that line of thinking. You obviously shouldn't start splurging randomly and hope you strike gold from one of your irreverent purchases. But you can't be so conservative with your cash that you are paralyzed by it. There's a tension there. The tension exists especially when that "striking gold" hasn't happened yet, even despite the financial risks.
I'm living in that sweet spot of tension right now in launching this company. You sketch out a vision, create a game plan, and then go. But in order to implement your game plan, you need the right equipment. It reminds me of the fourth season of Friday Night Lights. Coach Eric Taylor (played by Kyle Chandler) has transferred away from the incredibly funded and supported football team at West Dillon High School to the incredibly underfunded and inferior East Dillon team. His players are playing in hockey gear!
In the third episode titled "In The Skin of a Lion", Coach Taylor is unable to raise funds to get his team decent uniforms, so he writes a check for $3,000 (which he doesn't have) in order to buy them personally. Something I can relate to! Naturally this creates some tension at home with his wife, Tami (played by Connie Britton). Though the argument is more about their communication, the subject at hand is clear: Coach needs uniforms in order to make a team in order to make a living in order to pay for the uniforms and so on...
A sucky scenario, but a reality.
And I think the only way to survive that tension is to really believe in what's on the other side of it.
This isn't a "believe in yourself" talk. It's a "believe in the vision" talk. The idea that what you're making, what you're sacrificing for, has to be worth it. Does it add value? Is it worthwhile? Is it necessary?
It's not an easy thing. But avoiding tension is rarely the answer. And I'm learning to not just head towards it, embrace it, and work with it.
I'm working to enjoy it.
I want to be someone who thrives in the tension.
And ironically enough, I think that's what it takes to be a lion. To be a strong leader.
I am not someone who does this automatically. I am naturally a conflict-avoider so I have to be really intentional with this. I am working to take ownership of that tension and choose to enjoy it until I don't have to force it anymore. I want grow in to "the skin of a lion" rather than try to make the lion less impressive. To walk as much as I can like a lion now so that it becomes a natural part of my character.
Tension is not just a good thing. It's a great thing.
It is an opportunity for depth and adventure. Relationally, it is an opportunity for deeper friendships and stronger character. In life, it is the opportunity for a great story. No good story lacks tension. It's abundant!
And I definitely want to be someone who looks back on my life saying, "Wow! What an incredible story!"