Lifestyle Magazine

Shark Attack! The Biting Truth in Business.

By Linsibrownson @CleverSpark
The other night I watched the show Shark Tank – which is something I rarely watch because I forget it’s on but also because it doesn’t make me feel very good.


I’m highly sensitive to meanness, especially the conjured up for television kind.


And I prefer the woo-woo theory of good will (and yeah, maybe even the secret) as a means to success over being a trite asshole.


I get the concept of “doing whatever it takes” as an entrepreneur, but being beleaguered by a bunch of bobbleheads and letting them take over half of your company (if they offer) just for a moment in the spotlight sounds like masochism more than a sound business strategy.


If the sharks are, in daily business and life, anything like their tv persona – no thank you.  I’d rather not have that as a business partner.

business shark attack


The other reason it upsets me is because it tugs on the chains of my personal struggle with “what it takes” to be successful.  The thing is, I’ve battled my whole life with trying to quiet the voice (my father’s) in my head telling me I’m doing it wrong.  I fully realize that pops grew up in a different world. He is from a time when you started flipping burgers at 15 to get a work ethic (i.e., learn to accept hating a major chunk of your life) and afford to pay for your car and trips to the mall (the chunk of life you wanted…so it’s totally worth it). Going to college and getting a job was a no-brainer.  In his world you carefully negotiated even the most lateral moves.  And when the feeling of dread made your chest hurt every Monday morning, you shook it off and grabbed some coffee.  And then a drink at 5:30.


My Dad is a good guy, a crazy hard worker and he has always meant well.  But what he didn’t realize is that he was teaching his bright, inventive and sensitive young daughter that the things she liked doing were not worth anything.  And that it was perfectly okay to dream, just make sure that you don’t start thinking it’s realistic.


Phrases like “the real world” and “pay your dues” still haunt me to this day.


And this is where the struggle really begins.  Because obviously good things don’t just happen to you – you have to work for them.  And an idea without intense and focused action is just a dream.  [Tweet that!] So does that mean our parents were giving sage advice?


No. They were just parroting their parents, and trying to justify the suck in their lives.


Starting and running a business is hard.  Maintaining and growing a business is hard.  But I don’t think hard needs to mean painful.  Our soul sucking.


If it does…

Congratulations, you’re the proud owner of a job.


That kind of advice leads us to believe that we have to sacrifice more than we want to in order to see success.  And this is exactly the premise of Shark Tank.  All the sharks talk about their early days – eating ketchup and mustard sandwiches (really?  Nobody does that, it’s disgusting) and how awful it was.  They “paid their dues” and worked themselves to near death and then BAMMM, they became billionaires.

And now, like a parent, they’re going to guilt you into doing it too.


Listen, I’m no billionaire.  Nobody has purchased my idea for a hefty sum or made me a board member or sponsored me at the country club.  So I definitely can’t refute their method.


It just feels wrong for me, and I see a future filled with wealthy and successful leaders who agree with me and are determined to enjoy the process of growing rather than saving happiness for someday “after they’ve made it.”
Linsi Brownson

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