An excerpt from It’s in the bag:
Success in business, and the attention that comes along with it, can be a double-edged sword. On the one side, you have all the abundance that success creates: in my case, by 1997 SHERPA Pet Trading Company employed dozens of people and had helped thousands travel safely and comfortably with their pets. This created many positives in my life and the lives of many others. Over the next decade, I continued to appear on television and radio, and be featured in magazines and catalogs. I sold hundreds of thousands of SHERPA Bags, and became a recognized global advocate and spokesperson for improved pet travel. I had found what I was meant to do in the world. My vision for my company’s continued growth and development was a continuing process.
However, there was another, more sinister, side: the difficulties caused by the evil, dog-eat-dog aspects of the business world was a sharp sword indeed. Unfortunately, when many eyes are focused on you, not everyone has your best interests in mind. In fact, as I discovered in my naiveté, many of those eyes were green with jealousy. Some people will want what you have; others will actively try to take it away from you. That is exactly what happened to me and the SHERPA business that I had created.
This chapter deals with what happened to me. I believe it is an informative lesson on how greed and jealousy can destroy your business and perhaps even you, since stress kills. People I completely trusted tried to take my business away from me. This is a painful but important subject that will hopefully help you think about how to avoid individuals who hurt more than help. I certainly didn’t have the right level of awareness when it happened, and I paid a very big price. Connie and I were overloaded with our day-to-day projects to keep the company going. I was naive toward the evils that existed in the business world, where wolves in sheep’s clothing can be not only dan-gerous to everything you’ve worked so hard for, but even fatal. If you fail to protect yourself properly, you risk losing every-thing. You must be totally aware that anything can happen, and cognizant of the earliest signs so that you’re not caught by surprise, as I was.
To understand what happened to me and to my business and why I use the metaphor of sharks in the water, you first have to know how a shark hunts. Sharks have highly devel-oped senses that allow them to detect even the most minuscule clues that a prey might be near. Sharks are usually colored to blend in with the ocean floor, making them almost impossible to spot. A shark’s sense of smell is so acute that they can detect the presence of a single drop of blood in an area the size of an Olympic swimming pool. Once a shark has tracked down his prey, he stalks it before going in for the kill. Once he’s ready, a shark will strike quickly, attempting to debilitate his victim with a single bite. We all remember the movie Jaws.
While sharks are normally solitary hunters, they sometimes form groups to hunt, especially when hunting larger fish. The behaviors of these ancient aquatic killers seemed to be mirrored by the men who tried to take my business from me. They fooled me, and Connie as well, completely, and I consider them true con men in every sense of the word. We made the mistake of trusting them. It was a mistake I will never forget, since it has cost me dearly. We all make mistakes—this was my biggest one. I will never forget those sharks and the lessons I learned.