Lessons From the Tank
by Joe Altieri
March 22nd, 2021

Got Passion?

I wonder how Jamie Siminoff, CEO of Doorbot, felt in 2013 when he appeared on Shark Tank, was rejected by four out of five Sharks, and offered a less than attractive deal from Kevin O’Leary, which he turned down. That kind of showing would seem to be a pretty reliable indicator that you may want to reconsider your priorities. But Jamie didn’t let it deter him from pursuing the potential of what he knew he had. Five years later, Amazon purchased Siminoff’s company in a deal reportedly worth one billion dollars. You may recognize the company under its new and current name: Ring.

Wally Amos, the Famous Amos cookie entrepreneur, was the oldest person to appear on Shark Tank. Most people his age have relegated themselves to a recliner, a remote and a 9 p.m. bedtime, but not Wally. At 80 years old, he was working on reinventing himself and entered the Tank to pitch a new cookie company, The Cookie Kahuna. All five Sharks rejected him. But that didn’t stop Amos. He went on to have a successful cookie business in Hawaii, where he lived until 2018, and he is still in the cookie business today.

“No” is a necessary response—both to give and to accept—in a lot of leadership, life and business situations. But sometimes it should be out of the question. How do you know? I believe that largely depends on one thing that most likely guided Jamie and Wally’s decisions and can help guide yours as well:

Passion

If you don’t live, eat, breathe and obsess over your dream, save yourself the heartache and uphill battles.
I’m not talking about having moments of exhaustion and temporarily questioning your path—that will inevitably happen at multiple points in the journey despite your level of passion and drive. I’m talking about a scenario in which you’ve reached the point in your career where you are merely going through the motions and basically hating your life. Still, you’re sticking with whatever it is because of the time, money and effort already invested.

I’m grateful that I came out of the Shark Tank with a deal, but before I ever stepped foot into the studio, I knew that I was all in with my product and my dream, no matter the outcome. Nothing that happened in front of those five Sharks would change my path or my passion.

What about you? On a sliding scale from “fiery passion” to “numb complacency,” where would the indicator be in your life? Are you passionate, determined and willing to battle through the inevitable rejections and countless “No’s?” Or are you dangerously close to numb complacency? If your answer is the latter, I urge you to reevaluate. Find the thing that does spark your passion and dare to switch gears.

Change is never easy or comfortable, but living a “just getting by” mediocre life will be a much more difficult, unfulfilling (and tragic) choice in the long run.

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