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Swimming with Sharks

Recently I had the opportunity to swim with sharks. Metaphorically, what did that mean to me? Yes, I asked that correctly. It's not asked from the usual way of asking a question which might be something like: "I did "x" and that was a little like swimming with sharks!"

Rather, my take on it has been, "I swam with sharks and it reminds me of "x" where "x" is some action I take in my life that is a little scary, okay a LOT scary, and I did it anyway. For instance, raising my hand when a presenter asked for a volunteer in front of a conference room full of people; or saying yes when someone asked me for something that I had a glimmer that I could deliver; I knew I could if I just put that extra thought effort into it although it would be a challenge, and that I knew would be a wonderful opportunity for me. "X" might even be stepping up and becoming an officer in a volunteer organization that is up to creating possibility in the world. "X" might be this one: write that business plan, buy "the" business license, call yourself a "businesswoman", take out a business loan, commission a graphic artist to "create you" in a logo or a web designer to launch a website espousing what you are offering.

Swimming with sharks. Let me share with you about that experience firsthand and what that was like. I boarded a boat with about 10 other SCUBA divers specifically bound for the "Shark Encounter" off an island in Fiji, South Pacific. We anchored in the Beqa Lagoon where there is a shark reserve with the Fijian islanders committed to keep sharks safe. The Dive Masters began to throw cut up fishes into the waters to let the sharks know that we had arrived while we were suiting up and getting ready for our deep dives. Then we began to jump into the sea and began to make our descent to 102 feet… we had listened to a 20 minute dive lecture on the boat; however, I woke up to the fact that we were now… in the water… swimming with sharks who were curiously swimming around us. To name a few, there were

  • 90cm/3ft to 170cm/5.5ft White Tip Reef Sharks
  • 160cm/5ft to 220cm/8ft Bull Sharks
  • along with 90cm/3ft to 170cm/5.5ft Black Tip Reef Sharks
  • a Tiger Shark, 550cm/18ft, plus
  • a 215cm/7ft Tawny Nurse Shark
that were kind of cute and had blue eyes but sucked down these huge pieces of cut up fish that the Dive Master was handing them, and it was a little scary.

During the dive, every nerve in my body came alert, and I strained to remember every single word that had been uttered in the pre-dive lecture on the boat; "Do not point, do not reach out, stay where they tell me to…" After all, I was swimming with sharks.

So what's the metaphor for me? It was the same as the next major decision in my business; major for me. Do I get off the boat, or do I sit aboard and wait to go back to the dock? Is the dive operation safe? Do they know what they are doing? Do I choose to take the chance?

Do I take out that business loan and invest it in what's next for my business, or do I just wait to "get lucky" and be discovered? What will it be? Do I take that well-informed chance and make that educated decision, or do I hang back perhaps missing the experience of observing a Tiger Shark turn on a dime and swim past me, graceful, powerful, and regal in command of who he is in his life?

What's next for you? Where are you not living into the possibility of where you might go "Swimming with Sharks" and from which you may not only benefit greatly but also provide fulfillment towards your vision of your business?

Is it partnership? Is it a new look? Is it upgrading your old website? Is it having that long overdue discussion with your business banker? Whatever it is, take a chance. Educate yourself. Make an informed decision. And then… perhaps… go swimming with sharks!"

~ Patricia Hirsch, MBA, Master Certified Coach