Swimming in the Guppy Tank?

SharkTankMuch as I enjoy the TV show Shark Tank, I can see that I’m a guppy. Like the Cowardly Lion of Oz, I play it safe. I’m afraid to strut my stuff. And according to the Sharks, being bashful about my fiction is the wrong way to think.


My sons and I love this show for its banter, crisp intelligence, and excellent advice. Episode by episode I am learning to do more than develop goals and the drive to pursue them relentlessly. I must also be myself. Not only in the classroom, but also as a writer and in the world of social media.


Likeability is important. Sure, hard numbers count, but so does being likable. Really? Don’t the nice guys finish last? Not necessarily. Even power brokers like the Sharks are not immune to the pull of personality. It’s more than having a quality product and being willing to work. Winsomeness carries powerful appeal.

Wishful thinking and good intentions do not get the job done. Being able to deliver on time and consistently is key. This means, of course, I must write more, not less.


Surprise! Passion counts. How many times have I heard one of the Sharks marvel, as the disappointed contestant walks off, that he or she did not defend their business. Where was the drive, the burning desire to succeed? Having “skin in the game” counts, but so does a passionate commitment to the product.
KevinOLearyGut impressions count too. “I’m going with my gut on this” is seen as a legitimate reason; nobody rolls their eyes. I’ve seen Sharks back away because the truth comes out: a contestant is too smooth or lazy or unprepared or (ha) selfish. On the other hand, support from one Shark will often draw other Sharks to reconsider investing.
Our failures can be our best teachers. The Sharks are where they are because they have taken risks. Is every business venture successful? Of course not. (Will every book I write be a bestseller? Nope.) The key is to get back in the game and move ahead.

So it’s time for me to grow and change and take baby steps in a better direction. Because I am an entrepreneur. And surprise, success in business isn’t as “Me First” as I once thought.

2 thoughts on “Swimming in the Guppy Tank?

  1. My issue with shark tank is that I think they give too much credit to the sharks. I have to admit I only watched it one time and two things occurred that I did not agree with. And yes I have run a business and I do know you have to watch the bottom line.
    One item was one of the sharks crying his dad suffered the ridicule as a factory worker. My thought was most people are the “factory worker” of some sort. Not everyone can be rich and be the boss. It is just the way the world is. That attitude like being a factory worker was something to be ashamed of bothered me.
    The next item was their insistence on the man having a good idea but he would have to outsource it to make money. I felt like the product had a low demand and would not make the man rich or allow him to work at it fulltime. Eventually, the need of the product may become obsolete. However, I applaud he wanted to hire locally. Greed is not a good morally.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Ann! Hey, thanks so much for stopping by.

      Well, Shark Tank is a television show, which means it’s about entertainment and the mix of personalities. Shows like this also give me the opportunity to people watch, a favorite pastime.

      It was not until I realized that as an author in a social media world I am an entrepreneur–a thing I’ve never wished to be (I am a teacher)–that I began paying closer attention to the kinds of questions the sharks ask, and the things they consider when choosing to invest.


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