From the Prologue of Run to the Roar: Coaching to Overcome Fear, By Paul Assaiante and James Zug–
“Over the millennia on the African savanna, lions have developed a hunting technique. The oldest lion in the pride is often infirm. She is a great-grandmother. She has lame legs, rotten teeth, a scabby coat. She cannot hunt. But she still has lungs and can still give a deep-throated, primeval roar.
“When the pride spots a herd of antelope, she heads into the tall grass while the rest of the pride spreads out in the bush in the opposite direction. The old lion roars. The antelope instinctively gallop away from the roar and slam right into the string of younger lions.
“The antelope should run toward the roar. To survive this kind of attack, they would have to confront the instinct to flee from their worst enemy. They would have to confront their fears head-on.
“This is the core message I bring as a coach. The normal reaction of people on and off the athletic field is to fear matches, contests, performances. Practices are easy. It is the public recital that is unpleasant. They turn from the challenge and thereby run into the proverbial young lions of mediocrity, underachievement, and, ultimately, failure. My biggest challenge as an educator is helping my athletes conquer their fears, their anxieties, and their worst nightmares. ln moments of tension and crisis– when the lion roars– I teach them to understand that safety is actually found in moving forward. There is just an old lion lying in the grass, familiar, toothless, and un-threatening.”
From Speaking of Animals: A Dictionary of Animal Metaphors, (Google eBook), by Robert Allen Palmatier–
TOOTHLESS LION– A lion does lose its teeth when it grows old, but a lion’s teeth are not it’s primary weapon: its limbs are. The lioness waits in ambush while the adult males drive a quarry her way. Then she kills it by striking it on the back and breaking its spine. So even a toothless lion should be feared.