Drum FishFive years ago you would never have caught me near a fishing pole. But, when my husband first suggested we take up fishing a couple years ago, I figured I had nothing to lose. I was pregnant with my daughter at the time, and there wasn’t much physical activity I could do. So even though I was squeamish, an activity that involved a lot of sitting seemed like a good one to me.

Today fishing is my number one hobby. I am also surprisingly good at it for someone who bought their first pole in 2011. There have been many nights I have out-fished my husband, who actually grew up with a fishing pole in his hand.

Image © Karelyn Lambert, used with permission

Recently, I was thinking about which elements of fishing make me a natural at it. I realized there were a few similarities between the way one approaches fishing, and the way one approaches business situations:

Patience is a virtue.

When fishing, you cannot throw out your line and immediately expect a bite. Not that this doesn’t happen sometimes, but it is extremely rare. The same holds true in the business world.

You can’t expect opportunity to materialize instantaneously. You have to work hard, and wait for it.

You need the right tools.

Everything from hooks, to line, to weights, depends on the type of fish you are trying to catch, the time of year, the depth of the water, etc. In the same way, you cannot expect to succeed in business without the right tools.

Knowing what to use, when, and why, are the elements that make you successful.

Not everyone is a keeper.

We often think that when fishing, you throw the little ones back and keep the larger catches. However, this is not always true. Case in point, my husband caught a rather large drum recently. Unfortunately, at this size these fish are usually infested with parasites and not edible. Therefore he had no choice but to throw it back.

This experience reminded me of a contract I held with a major cellphone company a few years ago. Even though the company was big and well-known, the job was not for me. It was my experience at this company that taught me that I prefer to work with small businesses.

Never give up.

Some days you won’t catch a thing, or if you do, nothing you catch will be a keeper. This doesn’t mean you are a failure, and it doesn’t mean you should give up. Business is the same way. Some days nothing goes your way, and you feel like you got nothing accomplished.

The trick in both fishing and business is to keep your eyes on the prize and never lose site of your goals.

A sense of accomplishment makes it all worth it.

A fish you catch yourself tastes better than one you buy. Nothing is more satisfying then reaping the benefits from something you worked hard for.

Knowing that we accomplished our goals, whether in fishing, business, or life, makes our trials and tribulations worth it in the end.

Do you have a hobby that has taught you lessons about business or life? If so, please share in the comments below.