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One Fish Can Keep Us from a Big Haul

By Joey Havens

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Crappie fish laying on a dock

If you follow this blog, first I’m very grateful for your interest and you know every week it may involve CeCe, the garbage truck or crappie fishing. Today it’s crappie fishing. I wasted about two hours of precious fishing time because I caught one nice crappie in a specific spot.

I have switched color jigs, added a live minnow, used a minnow only, changed sizes of jigs, altered the presentation of the bait to no avail. The fish here are simply not biting. Yet, because I found one aggressive and hungry crappie I have stayed locked in on this one area. I know there are fish here, I convinced myself they were ready to feed. I could not be more wrong.

I have been telling myself all morning to move on, this is a mistake. I have been here before (many times), the same story where I push too hard and too long in one area just because I caught a fish. I obviously haven’t learned from my mistakes.

But I have had the awesome privilege to fish with one of the best and youngest crappie fishermen in the country. He is a three-time national champion right now as he just completed the triple crown in October. All of which occurred after he fished with me a couple of times. I guess I should have kept some of my secrets to myself. HA!

He taught me one of the most valuable lessons on our first trip together, but I have a hard time applying it. He said, “Joey, the way you catch a lot of fish and catch big fish is that you keep looking very quickly. An aggressive fish or a fish feeding, is going to react. Quit trying to catch fish that are finicky. Move and locate fish that are ready to bite. I win tournaments because I drop my bait in front of more fish than other fishermen. You must be willing to miss an occasional bite to consistently catch big feeding fish.” It sounds simple, but like most things that have a big impact, it’s easy to not do.

We can apply so much of this to our careers, professional service firms or any business today. First, we can all learn from each other regardless of age. This 22-year-old taught me more about crappie fishing in two trips than I have learned in 20 years. Gen Z, Millennials, are full of knowledge and expertise that many team members need. The same goes for baby boomers with their experience and knowledge. Tap into it. Gen X, not leaving you out as you overlap in all of these scenarios.

The second lesson applies whether we are helping clients or team members. Rather than trying to grow our influence or our business “fishing” in the same areas, be risk takers and venture out for team members and clients that are hungry for help. Overall, let an attitude of curiosity help us explore more where we can bring value and grow ourselves and others.

CeCe: Hey baby, did you catch any fish today?

Me: One!

CeCe: I thought you said you were getting better?!

Coming in 2023, my new book Leading with Significance breaks through the limiting barriers of common culture theory and demonstrates, with great transparency, the real human emotions that elevate a culture to one that is genuine, enduring and magnetic. Sign up today for updates at