This past weekend I took my family down to our condo at Elk Meadows in the Tusher mountains. This was a much needed break for our family after experiencing 2 broken arms, removed tonsils, minor skin surgery, new puppies, dad being gone for the entire month of June, and mom ready to trade all of the kids in for life size pictures of the kids, dad, and puppies.

Brook Trout

One of my favorite things to do is to take the kids fishing in a little stream that is chuck full of North Eastern Brook Trout. If you know what you are doing you can limit out in about 20 minutes. This is my kind of fishing being as I openly declare myself a “catcherman” not a “fisherman”. I simply don’t have the patience to sit in a boat all day long waiting for a bite. I like to catch, not fish.

These little fish only get about 10 inches long, but they fight like little tigers and are very aggressive. They will almost bite a bare hook. I will frequently use the same night crawler 3 or 4 fish consecutively. When running out of worms, I have used eye balls of other fish and the innards of their buddy fish that I just extracted from the stream above them five minutes ago. The point being is these little critters are not picky eaters. However, what they lack in taste sensitivity they make up for in smarts.

When I first started fishing for these Brooks, I simply could not catch them. I would get tons of nibbles, but simply could not set the hook. In total frustration one day I sat down and analyzed what must be going on. I realized that these fish were not behaving as other fish where you must set the hook as soon as you feel tension on the line. They were putting the worm and hook in the very front of their mouth and as I attempted to set the hook the worm would slip off into their mouth and I would yank the hook right out of their lips.

Through much practice I discovered that in order to catch these fish when I felt a nibble I had to put slight tension on the string, then quickly give it slack, count to 10, and repeat this process three times. With each bit of tension and release the little trout would take more and more of the hook in their mouth until the hook was in their throat not in their lips. At this point I had them and I could simply tug them out of the stream.

As I watched my sons struggle with these little fish I just chuckled. I had told them the process, I had explained what the fish were doing, but they were so eager get the little buggers and the excitement was so high, they just could not bring themselves to set the pole down and count to 10. The result: Dad= 8 kids=0

Needless to say we sat down and had a great teaching moment. Not only in life, but also in business often times we get so eager to jerk that contract out of the water or win the big deal that we lack the patience and forget to let the hook set for the count of 10. Early in my career I can count more than one time a seasoned businessman has given me a tip while I cognitively listened, but fail to internalize. I would then later wake up to find the score: Seasoned Businessman $1MM Rich=$0MM

In business and in entrepreneurship there are times exercise patience, learn to count to 10 and become “Fishermen” not “Catchermen”.