If you struggle with comparison and/or impatience, this is worth reading and archiving!
It was Aug 18. Three days from my birthday and I hadn’t had a full vacation since becoming an entrepreneur in 2016. After a very busy summer (busy in a good way) I badly needed to get away and unplug. My sister-in-law mentioned Cuba that afternoon and I said hmmm… that would be a perfect getaway, totally not planning to book it! 3 hours later, after some thorough research, you know... to make sure I’d be able to reenter the States, I decided to just do it...solo! I bought the ticket on Aug 19th and was sailing through the friendly skies the morning of the 20th. No laptop, no plan and no real cell phone service. It was JUST what I needed.
I could truly write about my experience in Cuba for pages but I’ll stick to the one valuable lesson I learned from two Cuban fishermen I bumped in to on my morning run down the Malecon of Havana.
I was about 1.5 miles in when I stopped to breathe in the ocean air and take a moment for reflection/ prayer. It felt so good to just BE. About 5 minutes into my reflection time, I noticed two fishermen fishing alongside one another on the bank. At first I thought nothing of it. Another 10 minutes went by as I watched the fishermen cast their rods into the ocean…wait…pull their rods up…and cast them again. They did this repeatedly. I said to myself—what patience that must take!
And then it hit me. The word I needed.
See if I’m honest, I must admit that being an early stage entrepreneur is tough! You are constantly putting yourself and your business out there, quite often to be met with rejection. The NO’s can sometimes weigh on your confidence and make you second guess putting yourself out there again. To press on requires a certain amount of faith and patience. Kind of like the fishermen I watched that morning. Continuously they pulled up nothing on their rod, yet they casted it back into the ocean anyway. They had some level of belief that if they just kept casting, something would eventually bite.
And sure enough, something did! They pulled it up, threw the fish in their bucket and moved on to a different location. That too spoke to me! Sometimes you too have to shift locations when the fish stop biting in one spot. The key is though, that you have faith enough to believe that you WILL catch something.. somewhere, if you have the patience and persistence enough to just keep casting.
The other thing that stood out to me is that a group of men were standing right beside each other doing the same exact job, at the same exact time and none of them were worried about not catching fish.
Another really honest moment—I’d really been struggling with comparison the weeks prior to this trip. You know what it's like... when your NO's seem to highlight other people's Yes's. I was looking at the success of others as a loss for myself. But the fishermen showed me that day on the Malecon that seeing those beside you as competition is totally unnecessary. There are enough fish in the sea, quite literally, for us all to eat… tonight.. tomorrow… and the day after. I should celebrate you when you catch yours, and when my rod pulls up empty, cast it again until I catch mine.
Watching those fishermen that day gave me so much insight on being a hungry entrepreneur... the right way. I renewed my mind that morning, as we should do daily, ridded myself of comparison, and welcomed back in my friends patience and peace.
As I continued my run back to my “casa particular” I thought…. “I wonder if that’s why Jesus chose so many fishermen to be his disciples. He could have chosen men of any profession yet four of them were fisherman. Perhaps it indeed was because they knew how to be patient, how to persevere, how to have persistent faith, and how to work unbothered by comparison.
When I arrived home on Saturday to check my email, there sat 3 brand new leads for my business. See, it turns out that all I had to do was leave my rod in the water and wait. (all the way from Cuba, which was awesome :-))
I hope this encourages you like it did me. I’m framing the above picture and hanging it up in my office with a caption that reads—replace comparison with patience and perseverance.