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Ten Entrepreneurial Lessons from a Fishing Trip

by Neil Phillips on August 23, 2010

I don’t know of any hard working person who doesn’t want—and need—some time off to recharge their mental batteries.  Steven Covey referred to this as “sharpening the saw.”  Lyn Christian challenged us to take some breaks to avoid a meltdown.  I agree wholeheartedly.  That’s part of the reason I was on my annual sojourn to northern Canada to go fishing.  For me, a week without electronics and a human deluge is very refreshing. 

I don’t go on this trip looking for life or business lessons.  They were hard to avoid.  Here is the short list.

  • You have to fish where the fish are biting, and you have to do it when they want to bite.
  • No one is more patient than a good fisherman.
  • The person who says, “that beaver slapping his tail on the water sounds like a gunshot” sees the world much differently from the person who says “that gunshot sounds like a beaver slapping his tail on the water.”  [I was surprised that the words are identical in these two phrases but the meanings are radically different.]
  • One is humbled by a golden eagle, who stares haughtily at us as we inch closer for a picture.  One is even more humbled when he raises his tail, defecates in our direction, and flies off.
  • Silence is very comfortable after eight hours a day for six days in a fourteen foot boat.
  • The purpose of a fishing trip is to fish.  Everything else is secondary.
  • You can’t catch fish sitting in a cabin talking about it.
  • The fish is never at fault.  A fish is just being a fish.  Its job is not biting your hook.
  • Fish always win a staring contest.
  • There are a lot more things that we can’t control than we can.  This is the inevitable conclusion as you come around the bend in a river and see how the setting sun has turned a million shades of green into a million shades of gold.

What did you learn on your summer vacation?  I’d love to hear your insights.

About the Author: Neil Phillips is an internationally known network marketing and direct selling coach. Get more from Neil on his Direct Selling Notebook , the DSWA Coaching Center and Twitter. You may contact him directly through

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