I’ve written before about Shark Tank, the television series that premiered on ABC in August, 2009. The show which is currently in its 7th season, features business owners who make presentations to five potential investors. The investors are referred to as “sharks.” Each of the sharks is an experienced entrepreneur who became wealthy by successfully starting and growing multiple businesses.
During each show, business owners make presentations to the sharks in an attempt to persuade one or more of them to invest in the business in exchange for an equity share in the business. After a business owner gives a presentation, each investor has an opportunity to ask questions and make comments. Most of the time, the investors refuse to invest in the business by declaring “I’m out.”
The only time that I’m usually able to set aside time to watch Shark Tank is when I’m exercising or when I take a break at work to have something to eat. I recently watched an episode that originally aired in 2014. The person who made the presentation to the sharks was Talia Goldfarb, the founder and owner of Myself Belts. Talia’s business manufactures and sells colorful, easy-to-use belts for children.
Talia reported to the sharks that she had been in business for ten years. After being questioned by the sharks, she revealed that during the previous three years, there had been a decline in total sales revenue. During the previous year, her total sales were $205,000. When Talia was asked why her sales were declining, she said
During the last three years we’ve had a slight decline because we sell online and also mainly through independent boutiques. When the recession hit, we found a lot of our boutiques were struggling. They really were being more conservative. Even a big catalog we were in went bankrupt. I didn’t want to be wasting my money and spinning my wheels knocking on people’s doors who did not want to take anyone’s call. We decided to kind of put a pause and to focus online, and to weather out the storm.
After giving her explanation as to why her sales had declined, four of the five sharks criticized Talia for blaming the economy for her problems, and then told her that that they were not interested in investing in her business. Prior to bowing out, three of the sharks made the following comments:
Tough, no-nonsense advice from people who know what it takes to be successful in business. But does their advice only apply to business?
The comments and advice that the sharks gave to Talia are not only applicable to people who want to succeed in business, but also to people who want to succeed in other areas of life.
If you want to make it to the Olympics, you have to be a warrior who is willing to get in the trenches and engage in “hand-to-hand combat.” You must also have the drive and determination to overcome every obstacle that gets in your way. And if you don’t have a “killer instinct,” your competitors are going to chew you up and spit you out.
If you read about the lives of the greatest saints in the Catholic Church, you will find that they had the same traits that the sharks told Talia she needed to be successful. They had a “killer instinct” when it came to defending their faith. They weren’t afraid of getting in the trenches and engaging in “hand-to-hand combat” with the enemies of Christ. They knew what they wanted, and repeatedly overcame obstacles. And they proved over and over again that they weren’t going to let anyone stop them from achieving what they set out to do.
Unfortunately, most of us have become too lazy, comfortable, and complacent when it comes to our faith and our church. We throw up our hands and say, “What can you do?” We’ve lost that killer instinct and we give up whenever the obstacles appear to be too overwhelming.
While you and I will never face the sharks on Shark Tank, when we die, each of us will have to face Almighty God. What are we going to say to Him when He tells us that we weren’t warriors for our faith, that we lacked the drive and determination to convert others to the Catholic faith, and that we failed to have a killer instinct when it came to eradicating the evils that existed in our society?
Dear Georgette and Harry –
What can I say! I’ve never tried to “convert” anyone to think as I think. I feel that they haven’t been given the graces that I have. My way has been to accept each one where that person is; I try to listen to his/her views, present my own, and explain why I think as I do. My Cursillo experience – serving on more than 20 teams, each one on which I explained “Actual Grace” – taught me to respect those of other faiths. Yes, I’ve seen some beautiful conversions to our Faith because of having made the Weekend, and because God gave them the grace needed. I hope that makes sense to you! with love to each of you! Sister Roberta