What do crabs have to do with achieving your goals?

Crab theory and achieving your goals

Are the people around you acting like crabs…

..and stopping you from achieving your goals?

This is Steve and I’m the COO at Clarity.  You may have experienced being held back and not achieving what you set out to do. I certainly have. But what do crabs have to do with this? And how does this relate to you being the Hero (and maybe the Guide) to your clients, in ‘your story’?

Picture, if you will, a bucket full of crabs. One crab has climbed on top of the others and is about to escape.  What happens next? Well, interestingly enough, the other crabs pull it back down, stopping that one crab from saving itself. By effectively declaring that no one escapes, they all end up being cooked and eaten!

In the world of psychology, this is described as people choosing the familiar instead of comfort. In other words, staying in the ‘safe’ familiarity, even if it’s harmful, instead of moving to a place of comfort.

This crab mentality (also known as Crab Theory) happens in society too. 

In the general public, we see this with people (actors, singers, sportspeople etc) that are put on pedestals. It’s human nature to want to knock them back down ‘with the rest of us’ because if “I can’t have it, no one can”. 

On an individual level, it may end up with you being stopped by those around you from making a change, or doing something different. A change that would help you learn and grow to achieve a goal to be the best ‘you’.

Those around you could be partners, team members, family members and friends. Most don’t realise they’re stopping you from being ‘you’, achieving your goals or doing something different.

That different could be anything; learning, improving, a new job/career, friends, partners, hobbies.

Vicious cycles aren't easy to see when you're in it

It's exhausting!

When you aren’t being ‘you’, your life is harder.

This is what I’ve experienced professionally and personally throughout my 20 plus years in accounting.

When I’ve been ready to take a step to change, grow and learn, some of those around me have attempted to stop me. Ranging from helping clients with business advisory, to doing what I feel is right or from becoming a better person and achieving my goals. Simply to them, I was being different. In other words, they wanted to maintain the status quo and keep me in it.

It took me a while to realise this was happening. It wasn’t easy to share how I felt and take action. But I realised I had to be ‘me’ and not succumb to other people’s wishes.

A sign of not being ‘you’ may show-up as you on a hamster wheel, constantly moving but getting nowhere. Or that your goals and dreams always seem out of reach despite the effort and energy you put in to achieve them.

It’s a vicious cycle that often descends lower and lower. Plus it’s not easy to recognise the people around you may be stopping you from breaking this cycle. Because, in this state, you can’t see the wood for the trees.

So how do you break the cycle and create a virtuous one, that gets higher and higher?

What's your story?

Understand the current 'scene' in your story

First you need to step back and get a bigger picture view.

This will help you to understand the current situation in your life and what role you, and others, are currently playing.

One way to do this is to look at your life as ‘your story’. In every story (book, film, tv show etc) there a four main types of characters; the Hero, the Victim, the Villain and the Guide.

I recently watched the film Thor: Ragnarok so let’s take that as an example (spoiler alert! – don’t read further if you haven’t yet watched it). Below are the main characters and their ‘type(s)’ through the story.

Odin: Guide.

Hela: Villain (in her eye’s she is the Hero).

Loki: Villain then Victim, Villain again and then Hero.

Skurge: Villain, Victim, Hero.

The Grandmaster: Villain, Victim (although suggests he’s the Hero).

Valkyrie: Villain, Victim, Hero.

Heimdall: Hero.

Hulk/Banner: Villain, Victim, Hero.

Thor: Hero, Victim, Hero, Guide.

You’ll notice that most of the characters change their type as the story progresses and some see themselves differently to those around them.

How do you apply this to you?

Let’s take an example of a particular scene I see regularly with accountants; one accountant in the firm wanting to help more clients with business advisory but not being able to get buy in/approval from the team/partners. Here are the story types:

The accountant – that wants to help more clients but isn’t: Wannabe Hero

Team members/partners – who don’t want to change: Villains

The clients missing out: Victims

Our Clarity team: Guide

Achieving your goals

Once aware of this, the Wannabe Hero can then make a choice; stay as things are (the familiar with the rest of the crabs) or doing something about (getting out of the bucket).

As a typical example, after a firm becomes a Clarity member with our risk-free 100% money back guarantee, the scene looks like this:

The accountant: Hero and Guide (to clients)

Team/partners: Heroes and Guides (for enabling more help to clients)

Clients: Heroes (to their family, team and customers)

Our Clarity team: Guide

It’s a very powerful difference and certainly one worth climbing out of the bucket for!

Change can be scary but unless you do something differently, you’ll continue to get the same results. Stepping into the shoes of the Hero (or Guide) is essential to continue ‘your story’ and your clients’ stories.

For you to get awareness, take a look at your current situation or ‘scene’ and attribute a type to yourself and the other people in your story at this moment in time. Who is the Hero, Victim, Villain and Guide?

Also look at the story you are telling your clients. Who is playing the different types in the scene?

You may be that wannabe Hero who is being held back or possibly even a Victim.

What (small) next step can you take?

When you are 'you', life is easier

Awareness is key to achieving your goals.

Once you have the awareness,  you can then decide whether to act or not.

Taking action is simply the next small step (think 1% improvement every day) to help yourself and others (maybe even those other crabs) with your skills and experience. Each time you take a small step outside your comfort zone, your comfort zone catches up and grows. Take another small step and the pattern repeats.

It could be as simple as calling a client to listen to their current challenges, of which you may be able to help. Or letting a few clients know they’re leaving profit and cash on the table and should have a meeting.

When I realised others were holding me back, I had a choice to make. Learn and grow or stay being inauthentic to myself and the people I wanted to serve. I chose to learn and grow, one small step at a time.

The people who were pulling me back down into the bucket (some of whom love and care for me) didn’t see themselves as holding me back. Nor did they have nefarious plans. They just saw my behaviour, words, actions etc as different and didn’t like it.

What’s interesting, is when you are being ‘you’ the right people will gravitate towards you. And others will relate. It’s a bit like marketing, by narrowing your marketing to your ideal client, it turns away those that don’t resonate, so you’re left with the clients for whom it does resonate. Plus those crabs may follow your example and improve things for themselves as well.

What next (small) step will you take in ‘your story’?

About Clarity

Effortless Advisory | Powerful Results

If you think Clarity is just a piece of software, you’re missing the point. It’s a mindset shift, a different way of doing business.

If you think Clarity is just about business advisory, you’re also missing the point. It’s way more than business advisory, it totally changes your firm’s story and that of your clients.

Finally, a joined-up platform that truly enables you to scale business advisory services within your firm.  It’s been built by accountants for accountants. Award-winning accountants that have small business within their DNA.

Revolutionary approach

Rather than take a traditional approach, we have completely revolutionised the business advisory process for small business owners. Our end-to-end business advisory platform and member success team give you:

  • the structure and processes to deliver;
  • build confidence and engage the team;
  • save time; and
  • do all of this is a way that ensures your small business clients finally ‘get it’.

All of which makes business advisory effortless and more profitable for the firm, at a price your small business clients can afford!

Most importantly we offer a 100% Money Back Guarantee. So, if you don’t generate a 100% return within the first 30 days, we’ll give you your money back. No questions asked!

For more information or to book a demo visit clarity-hq.com


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