I hate to profile anyone, but my image of a fisherman is someone who steals away in the early morning hours to find a quiet fishing hole, escaping his world and keeping worms warm in his mouth. I know many a man who can’t wait to enjoy their hobby, out on a lake with a line in the water, hoping against all hope. And, no matter the catch, you just expect the story will be exaggerated. However, some make a living doing what they are passionate about and their skill brings them to the circle of champions. Such is the case with my new friend, Jeff Kriet.
Jeff Kriet has been a professional on the Bass Master Elite Series Tour since 2001. And, Jeff has qualified again in the 2013 competition to be held in Cherokee country of our neighboring state of Oklahoma. His easygoing mannerisms and determined focus was my observation recently when we were seated together on an airplane. He and I both were on the road for a speaking engagement. Similarly, we shared the same privilege—representing the ones, or in my boat, the One, who sponsors me.
I have learned more about bass fishing than I ever thought I would know from that two-hour flight out east. Jeff had a book of motivation in his lap that he said was his favorite as he prepares himself for fishing. This caught my attention since I never realized how much mental effort there could be when thinking about being on top of your game, especially if it was fishing. Studying lakes and strategizing where the best fishing hole might be is one of his priorities. Casting in the deep is one of his specialties. His fast bass boat is decked out with the best, wrapped with sponsor names, and his motor the finest. Ray’s Chips is one of his sponsors, which gave me a new appreciation for “fish and chips,” as he takes off over the waters in search for the winning catch of the day. He told me that he has traveled nearly 165 miles, one way on a lake to find just the right fishing hole. This could add to the stress of getting back to shore at the appointed time to weigh in.
I asked Jeff about his competitors. He told me that he lost a half-million dollar prize money and endorsements by two pounds. Each day of completion there are limited amounts he can catch with earnings related to the total sum of his net weight of bass. He has his own favorite kind of bass and some of his fishing expeditions have been harrowing. He ahs experienced sudden storms, lightening, water in his boat, slipping into the water firmly holding on to a great catch, and snakes. Jeff’s world is filled with the hunt as he competes at top levels.
Fascinated by the preparation time, I asked what his greatest challenge is. “Keeping your head in the game and knowing you can win.” Interesting to me, is that a fisherman has to keep his line in the water; search and discover new potential in places he has not seen; and use his time wisely to give it his all.
Life is the same. Just keep developing your skill; reach for the unknown; and see what you can net in a day. You won’t know fully until you are finished at the end of life’s tournament. Weighing your success might come in at two pounds short of the prize, like my new friend Jeff. Don’t give up and disqualify yourself. Reel in your failed attempts and try again. Put your line back in the water and anticipate a bite of victory. Taking a hobby and passion to make it a lucrative living is wealth beyond any bank account. It is about sheer determination to not quit.
I am wondering, how many in life weigh their successes each day? Do you even know there is a champion’s circle with rewards and your name etched in a trophy? Keep focused and find how your gift will make a way for you. Put some effort and determination in your life as you cast a vision for a new season of potential. Bait your lifeline with hope. Don’t be lured with discouragement.
Catch the vision for winning big.
When you choose to look past the horizon… the sky is the limit!