Labonte’s Fables: The Lions’ Den

Throughout my career, I told a story that demonstrated how I saw success in the business world. Now that I am retired, I see that the story is about more than success in the business world. It is a story about how the world sees achievement.

Once upon a time, Roman guards marched three falsely imprisoned men to the entrance of the coliseum. Hungry lions roamed the coliseum floor, waiting for the prisoners to enter. The guard pushed the first prisoner through the gates. The prisoner bobbed and weaved past the angry lions, making it to the other side of the coliseum without significant injury. The second prisoner did not share the same fate. He darted around, dodging teeth and claws. The lions were too angry and hungry, though. And the prisoner was a little too slow and a little too scared. Lion after lion caught him. They dragged his body across the coliseum. They scratched him and bit him and tore off several appendages. He just made it across the coliseum floor before bleeding out and dying. In all the excitement, the third prisoner slipped away from the guards. While everyone was watching the lions destroying the second prisoner, the third prisoner found a way around the coliseum and met the guards on the other side without ever having to face the lions.

You see, some people face the lions in life and come out of the experience relatively unscathed. Sure, they might have a manageable, impressive scar or two attesting to their courage. However, they are still upright and functional. They still have all their body parts… and all their marbles. These are the heroes of success in our world. Then, there are the people who face the lions and get eaten. Even if they make it through the coliseum alive, they will never be right again. Often, our world mocks these people and labels them failures without even knowing what circumstances led them to their bloody end. Finally, there are the people who figure out how to make it through life and reach the goals to which most of our world aspires without ever going through the lions’ den.

Moral #1- Just because a person fights the lions and loses doesn’t mean he is a loser.

Moral #2- As noble as it can be to face the lions, it is sometimes better to avoid the lions when you can.

Alternate ending:

The prisoner who is circumnavigating the coliseum to avoid the lions was attacked by a far more vicious beast- a man with hate in his heart. The man with hate in his heart murdered the prisoner.

Moral #3- Everybody has scars, even when we don’t watch them happen.

Which moral resonates with you the most? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at

Have a lion-free day!

Terri/Dorry 🙂