Build a Portfolio Career

Building a Portfolio Career

Thursday, December 29, 2011

5 Life Lessons to Learn from Sharks

What life lessons can we humans learn from the predator of the deep? Apart from the obvious ‘don’t go swimming with them’, here are some other thoughts:

1. Sharks form Symbiotic Relationships
Fish called Remoras and Pilot Fish both form symbiotic relationships with sharks – relationships in which both parties benefit.
The Remoras eat any of the shark’s leftovers that they can find (the Remoras benefit) and also eat the parasites off of the shark’s skin (the shark benefits)
The Pilot Fish cleans the sharks teeth and skin (the shark benefits) whilst being protected from predators by the shark (the Pilot Fish benefits).

Do you form symbiotic relationships? Do you give as well as receive? Of are you just a Taker? Takers tend to win battles and lose wars...

2. Sharks can manage on their own or work together with other sharks
All sharks can operate as individuals. Some species more than others operate in packs – Scalloped Hammerheads, in particular, like to stick together. At times, working alone is fine. At other times, a group is needed to get the job done.
The point here is that the shark is adaptable to the circumstances prevailing at the time.

Are you?

3. Sharks have a reputation which goes before them
Most (sensible) people treat sharks with a great deal of respect. We don’t expect to go swimming with a Great White Shark and come out with all of our body parts intact. They have a reputation which we respect, whether it is true or not.

What is your reputation? What do your colleagues think of you? What is your online reputation – Google your name and find out. Now is perhaps the time to ‘hide’ some of those photos on Facebook...

4. Sharks go where they will find food (or a mate)
Sharks have amazing senses and can pick up sounds and smells at long distances. They move toward their food sources, following their senses. They congregate where they know that they will find food. They don’t swim aimlessly around hoping for something to float across their path. They may, though, swim thousands of miles to find a mate – but they know where they are heading.

When you advertise yourself or your business, do you know the best places to invest your money? Do you target the best websites and offline media? Take a lesson from the shark and ‘swim where you’ll find food’ - or a job, or a sale (or a mate...)

5. There are many different types of shark
When we think of sharks we generally think of ‘Jaws’, the Great White Shark. In fact, there are 354 species of sharks, 90% of which have never attacked a human. So when you hear the word ‘shark’ don’t always jump to the conclusion that the conversation is about Great White Sharks. Your colleague may be talking about swimming with Whale Sharks, a filter feeding species of shark that has a mouth over a metre wide but feeds on nothing larger than microscopic plankton.

Don’t jump to conclusions about people or organisations before you are sure of your facts – you could miss out on real opportunities.

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