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Shark Tank and Being Multi-Passionate, Multi-Talented and Laser-Focused

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do

If you know me or have read some of my other blog posts, you probably know that I am a huge fan of the show, Shark Tank.

I love the whole concept: very driven, inspiring people who come up with great business ideas and present them to investors (the Sharks) who invest their own money as well as their time, expertise and resources.

Unfortunately, the show has grown so much that it’s really hard for a very new/young business to get a deal on the show. The Sharks usually roll their eyes and opt out of the deal if the sales are really low or non-existent.

The flipside, of course, is that sometimes it’s hard to get your business going without certain resources, partners or money. I don’t blame the Sharks, because I can totally understand how they would want to see some proof of success in order to gauge how likely it is that they’d get their money back and, of course, make a profit.

But, that’s enough on the ins and outs of the show itself. What I really want to talk about is a recent episode that really hit home and, to tell you the truth, it made me pretty mad.

There was a woman who came on the show to present a paleo diet bar she created. She is a wife, mom, dental hygienist, and fitness instructor. She didn’t just blurt out all the other stuff she does – the Sharks asked her (which is pretty normal because they want to know WHO they are investing in as much as they want to know WHAT they are investing in).

She’s very into Crossfit and the paleo diet, but that’s not why or how I really felt a connection to her.

She shared that she actually only worked in the dental office one day a week, and she taught fitness classes a few mornings a week before her day really even got started.

Instead of the Sharks being impressed with all that she does and choosing to focus on the product she presented, they chose to focus on her busy life and told her she’s not focused enough on her paleo product. They all opted out of partnering with her, and the whole situation just left me fuming! I even went to the product’s Facebook page and immediately posted a message telling her how I felt and that she’s amazing and should keep pluggin’ along with her bad self!

She made it very clear how important this product was and how much of her life she dedicated to it. They didn’t even ask her WHY she wanted (or needed?) to continue to work in the dental office. Heck, maybe she needs to in order to provide medical benefits for her family. Who knows…but they didn’t even ask – they just judged and assumed (and you know what they say about those who ASSume!).

From where I sat, they were using the fact that she also taught fitness classes and worked in a dental office against her.

Guess what – I do more than one thing, and frankly, I’d be bored and feel unfulfilled if I didn’t. I also teach yoga and fitness classes in addition to being a web and graphic designer. It not only brings in extra income, but it provides exercise and friendships. What could be better than that!

I even taught fitness classes on the side when I had a traditional job in the “real world.” I’d work all day and teach a class in the evening at the same time that I would have gone to the gym anyway. I was getting my exercise in AND making extra money (and developing friendships). Win-Win-Win!

You can do anythingNewsflash: It’s ok to be a renaissance woman. It’s ok to have more than one job or hobby. It’s MORE than ok (and possible!) to be really good at more than one thing, too. It’s called being multi-passionate and multi-talented…and it does NOT [always] mean you are UNFOCUSED!

You also don’t have to have one specific target clientele. Sure, creating a niche is great, but if you enjoy working with multiple types of people or industries, then don’t deprive yourself or your business. There is more than one way to do pretty much everything – so just remember that!

Sure – some people are just not able to focus on or do multiple things. Or, maybe it’s that they are “able” to, they just choose not to.

The whole scene reminded me not just of the fact that I was like this woman in the sense that I teach classes and have another business (oh, the nerve of me to have multiple passions!) but of something someone said to me a couple years ago when I first started my web and graphic design business.

This person decided to open his mouth and say the following: “So, what are you – are you a yoga instructor or web designer or dog rescuer? You can’t do it all – you have to pick one thing.”

Oh really? Watch me! 🙂

Can you imagine how angry that made me? Clearly, this type of statement could only come from a single-minded person who doesn’t realize that it IS POSSIBLE to do multiple things and be good at them!

Well, I’m here to tell him and whoever else feels that way the following:
YOU can choose to do one thing, but I’m choosing to do multiple things. You can be really good at one thing, but you can also be great at more than one thing.

The next time someone tells you to focus or do only one thing, keep in mind that they’re probably projecting their own inadequacies onto you.

Do what you want to do. Do lots of things. Do one thing. Do what works for YOU and not for everyone else out there…because no one knows you better than yourself!

Has someone tried to tell you you’re doing too much and/or to make a decision and just “pick one”? Was that person truly “qualified” to be providing such unsolicited advice?

Tell me about in the comments below…

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9 comments… add one

  • Greg Swedberg June 1, 2015

    I thought a similar (though probably not as intense) thoughts to you when I saw them rip into her. I think the fact that her bar didn’t taste very good didn’t help her. Lastly, as those guys are investors, I give them a bit of a pass, because it’s their money. They can do what they want. Those folks have made it very clear that they are only interested in single minded people. It’s not that muti-faceted folks are bad, it’s just that THOSE investors (Cuban in particular) really want to know that the people they are investing in are fully engaged in tha-biz. Thank you for being so clear about your thoughts. Good stuff.

    • Stefani Harris June 1, 2015

      I agree – they can have a pass b/c it’s totally their choice and their money. And I can see how and why it is important that the people are fully engaged in their biz. I just wish they wouldn’t have been so negative about her situation. 🙁

  • Janet June 1, 2015

    Good stuff girl! I love hearing another view on this topic. We always hear about the “only focus on one thing” view. You’re totally right, there are lots of multi-focused heroes and sometimes to make it work … you have to be! 🙂

  • Nela June 4, 2015

    Ooooh, that’s my hot button right there!
    Poor lady, it’s so sad. I would have thought that entrepreneurs had less prejudice about multi-passionate people than traditionally employed folks, but I suppose I was wrong.

    Emilie Wapnick recently did a TEDx talk on this issue, here it is if you haven’t seen it yet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJORi5VO1F8
    She’s trying to get this message through to people who are still in denial or feeling inadequate because of their multiple passions.

    • Stefani Harris June 4, 2015

      Thank you, Nela! I’m going to check it out now. Yep – it hit my hot button, too :(. And I LOVE the sharks…but this time not so much!

  • I soooo agree that we can do more than one thing.

    Or better yet, mix them altogether and let all your passions create that *one thing*, thich is usually called self-employment 🙂

    I love the stories of people who do two seemingly unrelated things and join them into one profitable business. This makes you unique, if anything.

    That’s why I’m also not settling for one thing, and even though I’m an interior designer by trade, I’m also a writer and a self-development junkie. And then I teach how to create better looking and happier homes (AND, I get to write about it for Houzz, the Huffington Post etc.) – that’s also what I call a WIN-WIN-WIN 🙂

    Thank you for this reminder that it’s ok to be yourself!

    • Stefani Harris June 4, 2015

      OMG – soooo awesome!! You go girl! It really is all about “being ok to be yourself”!!

  • Angela Ford June 4, 2015

    Oh this post hit home! Excellent storytelling with this one, and you’re right! We’re not good at just one thing! I may enjoy working as a digital marketing strategist, but I LOVE writing fantasy novels and putting together Wordpress sites. I’m business-minded, I’m creative, and I’m not going to do just ONE thing. Bravo for being proud of your multiple passions. Continue to go for it!

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