Slaying Dragons… Continued

Accountability Gratitude Personal leadership


Key Point: This series of blogs has focused on the Seven Dragons underlying fear, as introduced by Laurie Skreslet, Canada’s extreme climber and the country’s first to conquer Everest. He obviously knows a lot about facing fear. He learned about the Seven Dragons from wise, story telling Tibetans, upon spending many years with them (please read our last two blogs for the complete picture). In the last blog, we focused on the gateway fear “STUBBORNNESS,” and another, “ARROGANCE.” Let’s tackle the next three: 


One of our core values at ATB Financial is to be confident and humble. That’s living the best part of this Dragon. However, when we cross the humble line to beating ourselves up, we’ve been overtaken by a belief that we are somehow not good enough. We pound and blame ourselves; even resorting to calling ourselves names in those very painful, private self deprecating moments. 


This Dragon shows up big and fiery in the Western world. When you ask people what’s on their mind, they often describe themselves as being overly busy, overwhelmed and even out of control. The positive aspect of this Dragon is when we recognize the triggers related to being “overwhelmed,” we often become aware, focused and able to achieve a great deal. The negative aspect is frustration, intolerance, distress and even rudeness while demanding that the world operates on our schedule.


The positive aspect of this Dragon is selflessness, taking action on behalf of others with little thought of personal benefit. There is tremendous generosity and even abundance attached to this dragon. However, a very negative aspect of martyrdom is victimization: Sacrificing one’s own needs and wants, and/or becoming a slave to the expectations of others. The fear is that somehow we will only be worthy when we have exhausted ourselves in the hope that people will recognize how much we have thanklessly given. “Poor us… Look how we just give, give, give without any appreciation.”

Character Moves: 

  1. Face Self-Deprecation: All blame is waste, including self-blame. We are good enough. We deserve our deep self-respect. Beating ourselves up equates to zero value. So why do it? Stop it. 
  2. Face Impatience: We are active participants in the world and yet we only own one worldview. Our priorities and schedule is unique to us. Often our fear of “missing out” or “being out of control” is a made up story in our own heads. To overcome the fear associated with impatience, it’s important to take that long, deep, reflective breath before acting. Keep that middle digit in your hand nicely tucked away. P.S., managing this fear has spawned a huge increase in practicing meditation. Try it. It works. Why are you really so impatient? 
  3. Face Martyrdom: Be abundant. When you feel an urge to want something in return for giving, it’s a signal to say quietly say, “thank you,” and generously give without expecting anything. Do not connect giving to reciprocation. Give because you want to, not because you need to prove your worthiness or love. Feeling like a victim, while emotionally real, is ultimately useless to you and others. 

Fighting dragons in The Triangle, 


One Millennial View: I hear Millennials deal with these Dragons on a regular basis due to a sense of feeling powerless in a “have it now” world. We can get same day delivery on Amazon Prime, right? So we must be doing something wrong if we don’t seem to achieve personal and professional goals immediately too? After all, you just saw on Facebook that kid from high school who failed his driving test four times, just got a huge new promotion. Then, some quiz you just took on Buzzfeed says you’re going to die alone. Really? My point is, as one of my favorite music groups says, “you want somethin’ bad, you gotta bleed a little for it.” Just keep giving it your best go. 

– Garrett Rubis

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis