Shark or Goldfish
Last month I had the opportunity to conduct two very different workshops for two very different groups. The classes were a great example of the different types of employees who are working in your company. The first workshop was on change management. A total of 40 employees attended, many of which were resistant and fearful of the changes currently going on within the organization. The second workshop was on creativity and innovation. Two dozen employees were actively engaged, learning how to become more creative thinkers and learn innovative solutions to work challenges.
Life is full of change and challenges. Oftentimes we find ourselves in an unfavorable situation. Perhaps we couldn’t control what was going to happen. Maybe we had control, but did nothing about it. Either way we find ourselves in a situation to which we don’t want to be, and have a decision to make.
We can either choose to be a shark or a goldfish.
In his book of the same name, Jon Gordon tells the tale of The Shark and The Goldfish. The goldfish stays safe and waits. He happily swims around in his small, safe environment. The gold fish waits to get fed because he is dependent upon others to provide him food. The goldfish cannot survive outside of his fishbowl. The shark utilizes the entire ocean in which he can swim. He can travel many miles and dive to get depths. The shark doesn’t wait to get fed, he goes out and finds his own food.
When individuals think like a goldfish, they restrict their thoughts and actions to stay within their small, safe environment. Goldfish have trouble thinking “outside the bowl.” Change is difficult for goldfish. A goldfish cannot be suddenly placed into a new environment without experiencing the dangers of “new tank syndrome.” Fresh water is dangerous, even fatal to a goldfish.
People who think like a shark are constantly looking and moving forward. Sharks have a hard time staying still and feeling contempt. The unique makeup of a shark allows they to swim to great depth and requires them to continue to swim and move forward or they will die. The shark’s process of breathing gets interrupted if they are pulled backwards.
The next time you are faced with a difficult decision, decide how you are going to think and behave. Will be choose to be a shark or a goldfish? The choice is yours to make.