What my 7-year-old son reminded me of, about life and business (HR)!

Here is one of my favourite quotes: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”, Henry Ford.  I love quotes! They are often simple reminders that life may not be as complex as we tend to believe in our minds.  Sometimes subtle words of wisdom can often make a world of a difference.

And, I just happen to have a great example of this to share with you!

Our family spends a lot of time throughout the spring and summer at our vacation property located at Lake George, NB and fishing is one of our favourite things to do there. Like every year, I was giddy about the start of the fishing season!

We typically catch a lot of fish throughout the season, but for whatever reason the fish were not biting this year. The kids and I were losing interest, fast (though, to be honest, any day on the water for me, is a good day, fish, or no fish!).  I blamed just about everything around me as to why the fishing was so slow this year – the water was too high, we had too much rain, there was a lot of pollen in the water this year, and oh my favourite, the wind was stirring up the water and creating a lot more feed for the fish, so they weren’t as hungry.  All of which were not founded per se, just excuses, excuses, excuses!

When things were not getting any better, I started to question my choice of lure. Most fisherman have lures they use religiously because they bring them the most luck.  I’m no different. I kept using my “lucky” lure, thinking eventually the fish would have to start biting! Sure, I would switch it up every now and then, but to no avail, so I would go back to my lucky lure, keeping the same mindset – it worked before, so it must (eventually) work again.

The middle of August rolls around and the fishing is still terrible. My youngest son, Jake, had just turned 7. Out of our 4 kids, he is the one that shows more enthusiasm for the sport and so fittingly, for his birthday, we got him his very own tackle box that included a fishing starter kit. He was so excited to go fishing with his very own lure! 

Even though I knew the odds were against him, I geared up his rod with his new lure and we headed out. I figured we really should be using my lucky lure, instead of his lure, but he was excited about using it, so how could I say no.

He threw his cast and in a matter of minutes, BAM, a huge bass was at the end of the line! He caught four more fish over the next hour, doubling our daily totals all summer! He looked at me with a big smile and said, “See, Dad, I told you that it was a good lure!”.

I sat there for a minute assessing what just happened. I was excited for him, especially since the fishing season had been so slow. But it really got me thinking. Did my stubbornness contribute to the poor fishing conditions?  Should I have actually kept trying different lures?

It’s my desire to inspire change, be an innovator, and be forward thinking. In this example, I was limiting myself, because I was not willing to change.

Change is so hard because our minds are conditioned with pre-conceived notions. We all need reminders that we need to adapt and try new things if we want new or better results. 

Truth be told, and any good fisherman will tell you, the fish are smart; they get bored seeing the same lures. I really should have known better, but my conditioning kept me from trying something new.  

This fishing expedition with my son was an excellent reminder for me and as I venture out to consult with organizations, I want to inspire my clients to be excited to try something new.  

I challenge you to think of one thing you are doing that is not getting you the results you want.

Have an open mind. Try something new. Channel the 7-year-old in you and change things up! 


Matt Carter, Business & HR Consultant