Recently I was talking to my friend Bernie DeSouza in England. Bernie and I have been friends for over 20 years. I have been to Birmingham, England, several times speaking to his organization. He was our guest speaker at our Personality Insights, Inc., business conference last year in Cancun, Mexico. As we were talking recently about the pandemic going on in the world right now, he shared with me an interesting story.
One evening, Bernie and his wife were having a lovely dinner overlooking the southern coast of England. The owner of the restaurant was walking around inside the restaurant visiting with people at different tables making sure all the customers were enjoying themselves and having a nice dinner. As business owners, he and Bernie hit it off very well and started a conversation. Bernie asked him, “How did you get started in the restaurant business?” He told Bernie, “Actually, I didn’t!” He then related how the events of his life had unfolded over the years.
When he first stared out as a young man, he worked on a fishing boat. He had no experience and was simply trying to make a living. He told Bernie he would go out on the fishing boat with the different crews trying to catch fish to sell to the local restaurants and fish markets. Over the years he noticed some things. The nets had some holes in them and oftentimes some of the catch would inadvertently be lost. When the weather was bad the seas got too rough to fish, so the boats stayed closer to shore and caught fewer fish. Occasionally, the boats had engine problems and the crews would experience “down times” while the boats were being repaired. To make matters worse, many of the men would get drunk in the local pubs, waiting for the repairs to be complete. As a result, much time and money were lost.
Eventually, the young man saved enough money to purchase his own boat. He said all the lessons and personal experience he had previously learned while working on other boats came into play. He had learned to work smarter and fish smarter.
When the weather got bad or when the seas were rough, rather than looking at the situation as “down time”, he would work on his boat, repairing any damage to the boat or any engine problems. He also said his main focus was to mend the nets, because that is where they made their most money. He wanted to be sure none of the catch was lost. That simple idea kept him profitable, very profitable! In time he was able to purchase additional boats and his business began to grow.
He said, “When the weather cleared up, people returned to work. They started repairing and mending their nets, I was already out at sea bringing in a huge catch!” He had already repaired his boats and mended his nets during the down times. While other people were in the local pubs, drinking and wasting time because they were unable to go out fishing, he stated, “I learned that when I could not go to work because of challenging or hard circumstances, that was the best time of all to mend my nets and prepare myself for when I could eventually go back to work! Storms and rough sea waters do not last forever. Eventually things turn around and when they do, I wanted to be ready to expand my business!” In a word he had discovered the secret to the fishing industry, “Mend your nets!”
Right now, is a difficult time for the whole world. The pandemic we are experiencing seems to be affecting everyone to some degree. Whether it is financial, physical, relational or political – we are all being touched in some manner. Let me encourage you to do what you can during this down time to “mend your nets”.
Maybe it is cleaning out your attic or basement. There are people in need of clothes and other supplies in your city. Get them ready to distribute to your local Salvation Army or Good Will store when you get out again. Maybe you need to finish writing that book you wanted to write so badly or finish reading the book you started last year, but you have never had the time. Maybe you simply need to learn how to add an attachment to an email. That was a “big day” for me when I learned that skill set! During this time, I am learning how to convert our paper training materials to virtual training products! Whatever you want to learn, I can assure you there are hundreds of YouTube videos and Google entries for any topic you can imagine. Just don’t sit around feeling scared and sorry for yourself. Mend your nets! Take on a project you need or want to do and do it!
I have one final thought for your consideration. I learned years ago that successful people are those who simply make themselves do the things other people are not willing to do. While others are spending this time being afraid or wondering what is going to happen next, why not make a list of things you can do to improve your life during this down time. Why not mend your nets?
For those of you who know me, I am a very outgoing, people and task-oriented individual. Sitting still is not my favorite activity. Writing this Tip took me 3 hours of concentrated time. Now that it is written, I have something I can share with you and the rest of the world forever. This net has been mended. Please feel free to pass this Tip of the Week along to anyone you know. (The guidelines are shown below.) Let’s be the encouraging difference makers in the world right now. You will be glad you did!
Tip: Mend your nets!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm