If You’re Stuck and Don’t Know What Else to Do, Maybe it’s Time to Go Fishing

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.

Alan Cohen

“I’m going fishing,” he said—a declaration, not an invitation.

“We’re going with you,” his six companions said—without invitation, without permission.

He’d spent roughly three years in his mentor’s company. He and eleven other guys ate, drank, walked, talked, and slept together, learning from a man they called Master. A band of brothers, they knew the other’s strengths and weaknesses. They argued and annoyed each other as siblings do. They were an incongruent bunch, woven together with a common thread of yearning. And just like that, their lifestyle changed. It ended when the Master left.

You can’t give away years of your life chasing a dream, have it suddenly upended, and expect to breeze through the changes without fallout.

The leader, the one prone to making glaring mistakes, the man who was a conspicuous fool, the one they called Peter, was done. Guilty of desperate failure, passionate and rough, he was a risk-taker.  Impatient and confused, he was sick of waiting for direction. Sick of grieving. So he did what fearful, guilty, hurt people often do. He went back to what he knew. He went back to what he was good at.

Nets ready, he and his friends set sail in the early evening. They fished all night, only to meet with disappointment. The work they knew, the work they were experts in, rewarded them with failure. They didn’t catch a single fish. Not one. All. Night. Long. Discouraged and tired, they headed for home.

A man on the beach was watching them.

“Catch any fish, children?”

Children. That was a strange way to address burly, seasoned fishermen.


“Cast your nets on the other side of your boat.”

They did and caught so many fish they could barely haul it in.

One of Peter’s crewmen recognized the man as the Master and called it out. Peter’s response? He jumped in the water and waded to shore.

Fast forward to the ending, Peter’s faith, foundation, and future were renewed.

Can you relate to Peter?

How do you recover from epic failure? What do you do when you’ve had a clear vision but keep hitting brick walls? What do you do when you have tried everything you know, taken classes, attended the webinars? What do you do when you’ve given your all when you work sixty, eighty, a hundred hours a week and still come up empty?

What do you do when you can’t see the next step? How do you conquer discouragement and doubt? Where do you go to buy a pound of courage, a liter of confidence, a box of hopeful energy?

There is a ton of great advice on persevering. There’s value in hard work. There’s a time to push through procrastination, laziness, fear, and doubt. But maybe when you don’t know what else to do, it’s time to pause. Go back to what you do best. Return to what you know, if only for a little while.

Could it be that as you take a breather on familiar ground, you will find your heart’s desire?

It worked for Peter.

Published by katenelsonfoster

Living and writing Jimmy Valvano's advice: "If you laugh, you think, you cry that's a full day..."

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