There is a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like a fool. -Stephen Wright
During one happy hour on the beach last week, a buddy noticed two guys sitting on the shore casting into the ocean.
“Look at those guys”, he seethed. “They are just spitting into the wind!”
To me, it looked like a couple guys drinking beers and relaxing. Harmless enough, I suppose. But the true fisherman knew better.
“They might as well go play the lottery!” he scoffed.
My buddy went on to explain that real fishing is about more than just throwing a line in the water and hoping for the best. If you want to catch the biggest fish, you need to create an environment for them to teem.
He sets out chum buckets and other supplies to attract an abundance of fish. Then he patiently waits for the new habitat to take hold. When the timing is right, he sets a line and casts away. In essence, he has created his own “luck”.
And how many of us are just spitting into the wind in our own professional lives? And couldn’t we benefit from creating an environment for our success to take hold?
Sales and Chum Buckets
In sales, we can make hundreds of cold calls and fire off thousands of e-mails trying to acquire more customers. On some level, it is a numbers game.
But hitting acquisition metrics is not enough. If we don’t have anything to contribute in terms of depth and empathy, we are just spitting into the wind. Shouldn’t we be concentrating instead on creating the right environment for the fish to flourish?
If we are educated about the market, understand our solutions, and prove our value and dedication to a prospect, the entire ecosystem benefits. Our customer will be more enriched. Our personal brand will be enhanced. Our company’s reputation will be boosted. And more and more customers will swim to our chum bucket of knowledge!
Quality Performance is Intentional
The same is true in every profession.
Quality coaches don’t just roll the ball out and “hope” their players deliver peak performance. They create the right atmosphere which attracts the best athletes and allows their skills to flourish.
Quality teachers don’t just deliver the same lesson plan over and over “hoping” their students get it. They understand the spectrum of aptitude in their presence and create an environment for the entire class to blossom.
Quality managers don’t just crunch the numbers and hope it will be another banner year. They understand the strengths and weaknesses of each team member and create a winning environment through intentional, individual motivation.
Quality entrepreneurs don’t just create a business plan and pray for customers. They actively attract customers by solving problems and creating an environment where more and more customers want to swim.
Success doesn’t jump in the boat. Winning doesn’t happen by accident. Nobody conquers their dreams by spitting into the wind.
Success is Not Always Immediate
But what happens when we lay out the chum buckets and the fish still stay away?
We make the calls and understand the market but still don’t attract any new customers. We create a winning environment for everyone to flourish but still lose the game. Or fail the test. Or miss our numbers. Or go out of business.
We can be intentional about winning and still lose. We can create the perfect atmosphere for success and still fail. We can do everything right and end up with an empty hook.
But if we can muster a resilient attitude and keep moving forward after a loss, that failure will only be temporary. Patience and sustained tenacity are the keys. If we have invested in creating the right environment, we can’t quit now!
It is only a matter of time before success comes our way. It is only a matter of time before we realize our dreams. It is only a matter of time before the fish start biting.
We Create Our Own Luck
Even the fisherman standing on the shore can get lucky and land a whale. But why leave it to chance?
Lasting success and happiness does not happen by accident. We need to be intentional about our pursuits. We need to stack the deck in our favor. We need to produce an atmosphere that maximizes our skills and talents. We need to create our own luck.
Spitting into the wind is not a strategy. We need to cast our line into the teeming waters of our own successful environment.
Until next week, keep smiling!