I’ve just returned from a lovely holiday in Costa Rica. We saw, among many other creatures, Green Parrots, Scarlet Macaws, Pelicans, Frigatebirds, beautiful Blue Morpho butterflies, four species of monkey, Leafcutter ants, the more frightening Bullet ants, Iguanas, Crocodiles and a Bird-eating snake. But pride of place probably goes to a Three-toed Sloth that we saw at close quarters at the bottom of her tree.
The characteristic that I noticed about this sloth was not so much that she moved slowly. In fact she climbed her tree in reasonable time. What I noticed was her deliberation of movement. She looked around and she thought before each movement of the leg, arm or tail. This was not slothfulness, I felt, but strategy. She had an aim in mind – to climb her tree and each movement was organized to achieve this.
I have noticed this same sloth strategy in the best craftspeople. A good plumber will never rush at a problem like a bull in a china shop. Instead, he or she will take his or her time, like a sloth climbing a tree. He or she will stand back from the task in hand and act precisely and economically to solve the problem.
In this Internet age, when every business imperative seems to be telling you to act fast, I would recommend my Sloth Business Model. Do not be distracted necessarily by social media or the social need to keep up with every single new initiative. Use social media certainly but use it in a way that suits you and that helps your business. Instead of racing from one initiative to another, take a leaf from the sloth’s book and decide where you want to go. In the sloth’s case, she wants to climb her tree.
Now you can gear every action to achieving your goal. Lift your head, enjoy the business landscape and decide which arm, leg or tail to move first and in which direction. Business can be as simple as this. There is always one thing to do first. Do that thing properly and then move on to the next thing but before that next thing, lift your head again and enjoy the landscape.
After all, you should be a little higher in the tree by now with more to see and to take account of. A new business threat or opportunity may have shown up by now. There may be a Harpy eagle about or a new branch may have come into view. You may need to lie low for a while. Don’t let anyone hurry you. Or you may need to think about whether or not you wish to make use of that branch and decide whether or not it will assist you in climbing the tree and whether or not to put an arm, leg or tail in its direction.
Think of yourself in businessas as a sloth with a job in hand, or in toe or tail. Don’t be hurried into your next move by social pressure. A sloth doesn’t care overmuch what others may think of his steady progress. She has a tree to climb.
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