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‘Do What You Love & the Money Will Follow’ Redux (New Lessons from the Lowly Mantis Shrimp)



I’ll admit it: I’m still stuck on the Mantis Shrimp. Eventually, this streak will wind down, but for today, there’s a lesson to be learned from the little buggers about capitalizing on strengths.

Not long ago, I told you about Mantis Shrimp and their spectacular color vision, which allows them to see a whole spectrum of colors that humans can’t name or even imagine. That post focused on the importance of seeing, rather than simply looking, when trying to understand the important folks in your life – customers, employees, family, and friends.

These shrimpsters have something else going for them, though – something humans could stand to learn and emulate.

Make Like a Mantis: Celebrate your Strengths
Believe it or not, there are 400 species of Mantis shrimp. There are basically only two big categories, though, and they’re based on two types of claws.

‘Spearers’ sport spiny claws with barbed tips, which they use to stab and hold the makings of their next meal (soft-bodied prey like fish and little shrimp).

‘Smashers,’ on the other hand, have club-like claws with a simple spear. They use the club to smash crabs, clams, and snails apart and then use the simple spear as…well…their lobster fork.

Mantis shrimp are homebodies. The spearers make their homes in soft materials like mud and sand while the smashers live mainly in hard materials such as corals and rocks. Can you guess why (think: strengths)?

The Lesson: Working from Weakness is a Waste
Bet you’re wondering what I’m getting at. Well, my colorful little buddies are masters at making the most of their strengths, something humans often fail to do.

Spearers don’t try to whack hard shell critters with their weak little spear, hoping that they’ll prevail if they flail enough. They just focus on prey that are better suited as a meal ticket.

How much time are you spending flailing around trying to spear things that would be better left to someone with a club (so to speak)?

Most people spend a lot of time trying to overcome their weaknesses. Is that true for you as well?

Toby’s Turnaround Triumph
I propose that you deepen your strengths instead, and use them to work around your weaknesses. Toby, a successful but overwhelmed client of mine, had poor organizational skills. As his business grew. he spent increasing amounts of time doing things that he disliked, because he was inefficient. Administrative tasks that would be a quick no-brainer for an organizer were painful and slow and produced lackluster results.

As a solopreneur, Tony felt he had to do it all. But were many creative options he hadn’t considered to ease his administrative load.

Toby wasn’t ready to hire a full-time assistant, so we found someone great on O-Desk to handle his administrative needs on an hourly basis. This shift actually increased Toby’s bottom line because he was able to concentrate on his bread-and-butter tasks – the things that he loves that also make money. He was also happier and more satisfied with his business. His time was spent focused on his strengths.

Now, It’s Your Turn
Where are you getting clobbered by devoting time and energy to a weakness you could delegate? Focus on your talents and you and your business will thrive.

In the next post, I’ll show you a quick and easy technique to help you figure out where to devote your time, so stay tuned.

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