Catching fish

I had a plan today. In no way did it include fish.

I spent my afternoon with a family of 5, a net and a whole lot of koi fish.
I spent my afternoon with a family of 5, a net and a whole lot of koi fish.

And yet, I found myself trying to catch 19 koi fish with a net for over an hour.

I bought a house in September and the random koi pond was part of the package. While they were cool at first, they are really hard work and I decided Koi fish are not part of my hustle. So I did what any good person does and I listed them on Craigslist.

Yeah, I’m the culprit who sold fish on Craigslist.

Guilty as charged.

The family who came to get them were random strangers who quite possibly understood very little of what I said. What did they understand? They understood that I was willing to get my hands dirty (and cold) while I helped them catch the fastest fish on the planet.

Here are a few things catching fish taught me:

  1. Each fish we caught gave us momentum. The more we caught, the more confidence we had to catch another. Life works the same way. No matter what we are working at, we have to catch a fish to get some energy behind us. The more fish we catch, the more confidence we build in ourselves to keep chasing the dream.
  2. Make moments out of everything. My afternoon could have just been a Craigslist transaction. I could have met the family in my backyard, collected the money and went in my house with a obligatory “good luck.” But why stand and look from the back door when I could get in the game? We talked, laughed and worked together to get it done. I got to know a family I will never see again. I made a little girl smile by letting her play with Mia Rae while we worked. We all have things we have to do every single day that could be boring, uneventful and just time occupants. But why not seize the moment and make the most of our time?
  3. Success is relative and cannot be defined by comparison. We all had varying amounts of measurable success this afternoon. Some of us caught
    Koi fish
    The fastest fish on the planet enjoying their last swim before moving on to their new home.

    more than others. Some of us were better at finding the fish and cornering them while others caught them. It would have been so easy to measure our individual success by simply counting our number of fish caught, or to give up because others were catching more than we were. Our society tells us that we need to be a little bit better, stronger, prettier, smarter, etc to be successful. We live in a day and age where we can instantly compare every solitary detail of our lives with thousands others with the simple scroll through a social media feed. What we so often forget is that the people we are comparing ourselves to are people just like us. They have their strengths and we have ours. When we learn to compare our today to our yesterday – and we see the success in our own lives, that’s when we know we are successful.

  4. Catching fish requires equipment. We needed nets and buckets. But we also needed each other. The more we worked together, the easier the job was. Likewise, success requires having the right tools but most importantly, success requires community. No great CEO is successful without his board. No great musician is successful without his band. No great athlete is successful without his team. No great author is successful without his editors and publishers. We cannot do it all. It is physically, mentally and emotionally impossible. We need people who are running the race with us. We need people to catch fish with us.

Perhaps the most significant thing catching fish reminded me of today is to make the most of my days. Death is certain, but life is not. Live every day like its your last and have no regrets.

If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are doing today?


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