How to tame your dragons

My 17-year-old cousin faced some Dragons on Wednesday, and he tamed them.

Nathan Blok is the 2011 Formula Tour 1600 Champion. He drives race cars really, really fast.

Every time he races he does something that most of us would never dare to do─or be able to do, for that matter. On Wednesday night, he did it again.

He put himself in the Dragons’ Den on CBC.

How many of us would dare to face the Dragons? How many of us would be able to?

They are called Dragons for a reason, after all. They incinerate poorly prepared presentations. They sniff out weak spots in business plans instantly and dismiss them with swipe of a spiked tail. If you decide to face the Dragons, you had better really want the treasure they protect, and you had better be prepared.

Why did Nathan tame the Dragons?

1. He really wanted the treasure.

He has been racing since he was six. He started with karts, and the cars have been getting bigger and faster ever since. His dream─his treasure─ is Formula 1, and he really wants to get there. It is his passion. The passion is deep and powerful. The Dragons feel deep, powerful passion and feed on it. They also dismiss those without it; those who enter with spontaneous flimsy schemes don’t last long in the Den.

2. He carried a sharp sword.

Would you face a dragon without any weapons? Nathan knew that he had to be well equipped. He had a clearly defined proposal with research and statistics ready. For every question the Dragons asked, he had an answer. When we see the Dragons destroy the proposals of unsuccessful pitchers, it is often because they entered the Den without any weapons.

3. He didn’t give up.

When it looked like the flow was going against him, he threw in new information. The Dragons want to know the people they work with are not faint of heart. If they sense someone folding under pressure, they’re out.

So what can we learn from his experience?

I am not a race car driver. If you were to ask me what kind of car Nathan drives, I would say, “A yellow one.” But I do have treasure that I seek and dragons on the path. As I set my sights toward the glint of gold beyond their fiery breath and spiked tails, I will hope that a little of my cousin’s courage runs in my veins. I will sharpen my swords, and I will never give up, and maybe my dragons will become my allies.

How about you?

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