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Departments: First Word

Photo: Scott Paton, publisher

  
   

Shark Bait

Scott Paton
spaton@qualitydigest.com



Last month I wrote about sharks, the nasty little beasties that swim around inside all of us, telling us that we're not good enough, smart enough or strong enough to go the distance. I was delighted with the number of positive letters I received; they confirmed what I had suspected all along--that everyone else has sharks, too.

The terrific reader response indicated that I shouldn't give up on the shark idea too quickly. After all, there could be some serious money here. I could write books, produce videos, develop software packages and hit the lecture circuit. If my idea really took off, I might even make occasional appearances on Larry King Live. I could soon be hobnobbing with CEOs and movie stars.

Once things really got rolling, I could develop my own line of shark-themed apparel. There could be caps, polo shirts, windbreakers and even boxer shorts. Why stop there? How about day planners, posters, pins, plaques and banners?

I'd better start with the book, and I'll need a catchy title. How about In Search of Sharks? The One Minute Shark? Who Moved My Chum? The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Sharks? I can't use Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive; Harvey Mackay already used that one. How about How to Win Sharks and Influence Porpoises? I know I'll think of something. And besides, the title isn't as important as the content. I'll just make sure the book is filled with homey stories, bulleted lists, really big type and nice, wide margins. Maybe Ken Blanchard could write the foreword.

What if I combined my shark idea with some martial arts terms? Brilliant! My sharks could wear different color belts, too, just like in karate. The nurse sharks could wear green belts, the hammerheads could wear black belts and the great whites could wear special black belts, making them master black belts. I might even make enough money to buy my own ranch down in Arizona.

To really get my idea going, I'd need to get the support of some large, nonprofit association. If I could get one of those to be my partner, I'd have it made. The association could promote my training seminars, sell my books and push my related products; it would be a real win-win partnership.

But what if my shark idea is really all wet? What if I chum the waters and no one bites? I'm not some slick consultant, merely a humble magazine editor. I don't have years of experience working at some high-priced consulting firm. I haven't really been in the trenches dealing with labor-management issues.

No, my sharks would never let me do any of those things. They'd tell me that I wasn't talented enough to write the book, not eloquent enough to make the speeches or slippery enough to hook up with the large nonprofit association. Damn those sharks!

Oh well, I never really wanted to live on a ranch in Arizona anyway.

What do you think? Are you ready to buy my book, or am I shark bait? E-mail your comments to spaton@qualitydigest.com.