Saturday, July 24, 2010

What We All Can Learn From A Fishing Guide

And how he woke me up to what I really do.

Yesterday in Bozeman, Montana my family paid for me to go with a fly fishing guide.  It was the sweetest of gestures and an idea completely conceived by Kathy as a belated Father’s Day Gift.

At first my reaction was did I really need to go with a guide?   My dad and I had paid for a guide a few years back and I thought I had held on to a sufficient amount of knowledge that I learned way back then.  So much so that I can usually expect to have fair success when I fly fish these days – not suggesting I am the Yoda of fishing or anything but I felt confident in my abilities.  So did I really want to fork over that money for a guide was the question.

Well needless to say who am I to turn down such an incredible gesture my by family.  I figured that I would pick up a few tips here and there and secretly the guide would bow to my amazing fishing skills and abilities.  It would be safe to say I was just a bit anxious to impress my guide with my mastery of the raging Montana waters. 

Boy was I a fool!

First there was little impressing to be done.  It seems that those lessons I received all those years ago hadn’t stuck a lick.  In fact the bad habits that I had acquired had me making so many errors in every conceivable way the fact I’ve even caught fish over these past years is incredible.  I guess every dumb squirrel finds a nut from time to time right?  Yeah that’s me…one dumb squirrel.

The point I am trying to make here is that much of what yesterday’s guide had to re-teach me was familiar.  Clearly the previous guide had showed me the proper technique and approach but years and lack of continual practice and reinforcement dulled my skills.  The Montana guide was actually impressed that I had lucked myself into so many fish over the years doing it so wrong and I am sure it made for some fun fodder when he joined back up with his guide buddies after our trip.

Who knew?

He knew!

And that’s sort of the point.

As our afternoon lesson progressed it became apparent to me that having a guide to teach you the skills that you need is important.  Just taking one lesson doesn’t cut it.  You have to be in the presence and mind of a master in order to understand a bit of how they got as good as they are.  It’s only then that you can pick up those morsels of knowledge and information and adapt it to hone your own skills and abilities. 

It’s a process and one that requires far more effort than one might expect.  That's something only a guide can truly understand.  Hence why he’s a guide!  Part teacher, part mentor and part confident.

Even then you have to continually practice under their watchful eye in order to improve and get stronger at whatever skill it is you are trying to master.  Whether that be fly fishing, golfing or dare I might I say…relationship building, developing better connections to your employees or customers or simply building a stronger network.

The entire afternoon was an awakening to me.  I found myself wishing that I could take more of the knowledge my guide had to offer.  I realized that with practice and his guidance that I would eventually improve and get stronger.  Unfortunately for me fly fishing is only a hobby and I simply can’t put my life on hold to take lessons a few times a month - though I would love to do it.  My next lesson will have to wait until my return trip to Montana….hopefully sooner rather than later. 

On the drive back from the fishing spot something became clearer for me.  My fishing guide taught me more than just how to find a better cast or to adapt an ideal drift.  He taught me that we all need guides in order to get good, let alone great, at a particular skill or ability.  It was an awakening of sorts not  just in improving my fishing skills but in understanding what I personally do best. 

I am not a coach. 
I am certainly not a guru. 
But when it comes to relationships I am very much a guide!

I cast a watchful and present eye on what other people need to do to become better at building them.  For me Ripple is all about that perfect cast, that attractive drift and seizing the opportunity to grab hold of those important relationships and wrangle them in with just the right amount of courage and finesse.  I am a guide to those who want to learn how to adapt their Rippling skills to build the kinds of relationships they truly want to have in their personal and professional lives. 

And you know what, I am a hell of a lot better at that than I am at fly fishing.

Ripple On!!!

No comments: