Recently, my family and I took a vacation. We typically plan a trip for this time of year because it’s a great time to get away, exhale, and recover from the stresses of tax season. During this year’s trip, we got a little more than we had bargained for when we took a deep-sea charter. With today’s entry, I want to share this incredible experience and apply the lessons that were learned to battling through business disruption. Get ready because, sometimes, it’s necessary to fight the shark!
Follow Along With The Financially Simple Podcast!
My oldest son absolutely loves to fish. We always take time on our beach vacations to do some off-shore fishing and really have some quality time together. This time around, my daughter decided that she wanted to join us. I was so excited at the prospect of watching my kids haul in, from the depths, some of the amazing and beautiful spectacles of God’s creation. We chartered a boat with an experienced captain and made our way out to sea.
Now, we were staying near Clearwater, Florida in a place called, Indian Rocks Beach. This is on the Gulf Coast and, if you’ve never been, I highly recommend visiting Florida’s Gulf Coast. It is absolutely beautiful. However, on this particular day, the water was like glass. I mean, once we got out beyond the waves, we might as well have been floating in a bathtub. If you’re familiar with Florida, you know that still water like this usually means it is extremely HOT. This was no exception. Nonetheless, we arrived at our destination, dropped our lines, and began to enjoy the day together.
We were fishing just above a shipwreck that was about 70-feet below the surface and we had visibility up to about 30-feet. So, we were just having a blast being able to see all of the different sea life beneath us. We decided to use live bait and the trip was going really well. Before too long, we had already caught a couple of Bonita, a few tuna—they fight like beasts—some grouper, amberjack, as well as a few other species. But then things took an interesting turn. My son hooked an amberjack that was probably around 25 lbs. As I stated before, we could see about 30-feet below the surface. So, as my son was wrestling with this amberjack, I was able to make out a greyish-white figure circling below my son’s fish.
If you’ve ever been to an aquarium, chances are good that you’ve seen some decent-sized sharks patrolling their man-made reefs. While those are big animals in their own right, they pale in comparison to the beast that was gliding through the waters below us. This turned out to be a bull shark. In fact, this turned out to be a VERY BIG bull shark. Friends, let me tell you, my jaw dropped as I watched this monstrous bull shark take my son’s amberjack in one quick bite.
After swallowing its newly acquired meal, this behemoth took a quick dive toward the remains of the ship beneath us. Our captain reassured us, saying, “Don’t worry. The line will break.” But the line didn’t break. I watched as my son wrestled with this massive beast until he turned to me and said, “Dad, I’m tired.” I took the pole from him and, man, that thing was on fire. Despite this, I began to fight the shark. I pulled and reeled, relaxed, and gave way. Back and forth, this battle went on for what seemed like an eternity. As I was fighting this shark, I began to get angry. I went out on the water that day to watch my kids haul in some big fish, but now the focus was on me. My plans and what was taking place were at odds, and I felt cheated.
However, my kids were having a blast. They were jumping up and down, screaming, and cheering me on as I struggled with the beast. You see, I had gotten distracted by this disruption. As a result, I was angry. On the other hand, my kids, the captain, and the first mate were all having fun because they remained focused on the mission. Our mission for that day? We set out to catch a fish. I was upset because I had an objective of watching my kids catch fish (which they did, in droves). Friends, don’t let a business disruption cause you to lose sight of your mission.
I’ve spoken to so many business owners, over the past year, who are facing business disruptions. Like I was, when fighting the shark, they are tired. They’re frustrated. I’ve had owners come to me and say, “Justin, we can’t get inventory. The material is too expensive for us to do our job at the prices we’ve bid.” They’ve said, “Justin, I have to physically change locations,” or “We need to improve our technology but doing so is going to force us to overhaul our entire office.”
If you find yourself facing this type of business disruption, you’ve got to fight through it. Whatever disruption you’re facing, you know what needs to be done. Fight the shark. Delaying what needs to be done will not get the fish to the boat. I remember my hands and forearms being so tired that I stopped reeling for a few minutes. The captain looked at me and said, “Justin, you’ve got to keep reeling.” I told him I was too tired and he said, “You’re never going to get the shark to the boat if you don’t reel it in!” He was coaching me, motivating me to do what I knew needed to be done.
It may not be “the right time.” Perhaps, and this is likely, doing what must be done will be painful. But sometimes you don’t have a choice. Sometimes, the shark eats the amberjack. When that happens, you fight. Business disruption is rarely—if ever—convenient. That’s why it’s a disruption. It comes through and changes your plans. It takes you off mission. But you just keep reeling.
So, what do you do when you face business disruption? You must remember the mission of your business. What are you here for? When you remember to focus on your mission, the “shark” becomes much more manageable. You see, as I was fighting this shark, I had exhausted every ounce of energy. I was pouring sweat, my arms were burning and aching, and I even began bruising where the pole had pressed so hard into me. I was spent.
That’s when my son came over and said, “Dad, what a fish!” When I saw the exuberance in his face, I remembered what our mission was. It didn’t matter that this shark had disrupted my view of what this day would look like. Instead, I saw the sheer joy on the faces of my children and the excitement that daddy was reeling in a huge bull shark, and at that moment, I remembered. We were there to catch a fish. Not long after that, I managed to pull him in. The captain hoisted this monster up beside the boat, allowing us to see it in all of its glory. We got to take unbelievable pictures and were able to properly remove the hook from its mouth so that it could be free to enjoy someone else’s amberjack one day.
Regardless of what your shark is, it must be dealt with. If you’ve got a team member that you need to let go of, just let them go. Perhaps you need to change the location of your business. Just do it. Whatever your shark may be, take care of it. If you put it off, the shark will still be on your line and will still need to be dealt with. The only way to move from turmoil to auto-pilot is to go through it. While it may be painful, it could end up being one of your greatest moments.
Friends, that shark disrupted our fishing trip. We could have just cut the line, but to what end? By fighting the shark, we created an unbelievable memory. In fact, my kids don’t tell their friends about all of the amberjacks they caught. Instead, they show the pictures of this bull shark and talk about how their dad fought the shark and won. The same can be true for you and your team. When a shark comes along causing business disruption, fight. It may just be the best story your business could ever hope for.
Look, I know life is hard. We run into all kinds of little unexpected kinks. But life is good. Business disruptions can be frustrating but they don’t have to be. If you remember the mission, consider your team, and fight the shark, you can make overcoming disruptions, at least, financially simple.
Are you facing a shark in your business? Reach out to us. The team at Financially Simple is here to help!