Become less of a Tiger and more of a Panther
So there I sat sipping a Baileys on the rocks, waiting for my close friend and mentor, Dave, to meet me in the bar at one of the most famous, old and charming resorts in Arizona. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was September, 1998. I needed advice, counsel, inspiration, a different perspective….something to get me re-focused ater 12 years in Corporate America. I didn’t realize that the conversation I was about to have would alter my career and my life.
I was 30 something.
The “30 something” Gina would be described as an alpha female, in the most flattering sense of the word. I had extraordinary confidence. I was intense about business and I always “over” prepared. Ambition, achievement, work ethic, passion, and a “there’s nothing I can’t do mindset” was in the DNA. If you wanted something done, especially something near impossible to pull off, it was given to me. The bigger the challenge the more the adrenaline pumped through my veins.
At the time, I was also one of a few rare female businesswomen navigating through the male dominated automotive and motorsports world. Put it this way, there were no female broadcasters or experts on the NFL sideline or in the NASCAR garage back then.
But I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the old-school attitude. The industry was not ready to embrace newer, more progressive and creative business ideas.
So after several minutes of conversation with my friend, with his infinite wisdom, he said: “Gina, you cannot work for anyone. No one. I’m amazed you lasted this long. You need to start your own company.” I looked at him like he had seven heads. Here’s what I knew about business ownership. Nada……
Dave said, let me give you some advice –I am ten years older than you and we have worked together for a while.
I want you to become “less of a Tiger and more of a Panther”
I want you to change the way you think. Approach business from a strategic position… more like a panther and less like a tiger. He went on to make his point. He said this — Both are strong and powerful. Both get their prey. Both are fearless. But here’s the difference.
A Tiger sees its prey, has a goal and goes right after it, in broad daylight and without thinking, without hesitation. It’s 100% action oriented.
A Panther is equally as fierce as a Tiger but a Panther watches, and listens and waits. A Panther sizes up the situation first, is more of a silent predator, stalks its prey at night, is more strategic and knows precisely when to strike. The end result is the same.
Two things happened after this conversation.
I made the decision to embrace entrepreneurship. I decided that night that I could not work for anyone ever again. I started my full service marketing and advertising agency after that meeting which I still run today, 17 years later. I named my company Panther Marketing, Inc. And, to this day my corvettes have always sported a “Panther” vanity license plate!
I started to approach business like a Panther. I became much more relaxed, focused, patient, and acutely aware of my surroundings. I listened more, I gained perspective before making a decision. I became much more strategic and “Panther-like” in the way I approached business. The result of this mindset shift: Panthers’s first client was Raytheon, a Fortune 100. Huge client. Huge win.
Think about how you are interacting with your team, your business partners or clients.
Visit again soon and I will share some tips to help you become more Panther-like!