Friday, February 26, 2010
Book Review: The Shark and the Goldfish
I just took a break from working on meetings for the weekend and read the book The Shark and the Goldfish by Jon Gordon. It was a fun read, and a stellar book to read when guiding yourself or an organization through difficult change.
The story is written about a goldfish who was dropped into the oceran by a little boy who took him to the beach. The goldfish is lost in the great big sea compared to his little fishbowl, and does not know how to survive. Luckily for him a shark shows him how to be more like a shark and less like a goldfish. The sharks instructions are both essential for his survival, and the tool that will help him thrive in the new environment.
You see, a goldfish is used to having others feed him. A shark is used to getting his food for himself. The goldfish does not believe he will be able to make it, because he does not have anyone to feed him. Slowly but surely the shark shows him that the goldfish's future is in his own hands. He has to learn the art of finding food.
There are several quotes I will share with you later, but the main point of all of them is that one's future is what one makes of it. And, if we keep swimming around hoping someone else will help us or feed us or make our life better we will end up disappointed. Our choices are in our hands.
This book speaks to communities as well as individuals. As a church leader, I find this parable helpful. We putter along, hoping for people to swim into our church and for our church to grow. Or we hope that the pastor's skill in leadership and/or preaching will grow our church in and of itself. God doesn't have us in a fishbowl. He has put us in an abundant ocean of life full of blessings and asked us to swim. And, as I go into our church business meeting I need to remember to remind people that we cannot wait for our future to come to us, we need to go out and move toward our future. I need to keep reminding people about that.
As a human being, I need to keep allowing God to lead me by faith into the future instead of creating a future for myself where I end up fearful and stuck.
Some fun quotes:
If you think your best days are behind you, they are. If you think your best days are ahead of you, they are. (p. 25)
Your belief must be greater than your negativity and doubt (p. 32)
Instead of being disappointed about where you are, be optimistic about where you are going (p. 47)