For many years I’ve been fascinated by the prospect of fly fishing. Watching a perfect cast—with rod and line all moving in synchronized motion set in the midst of a swiftly moving river nestled among rugged mountains—encapsulates for me beauty, artfulness, peacefulness, and all that’s right with the world.
Trying my hand at fly fishing has long been on my bucket list and last month I finally had the opportunity. Were my casts perfect? Far from it. Did I catch any fish? Nope, even though I had a bite or two. Did I get to spend about 3 hours in one of the most beautiful settings I’ve ever seen, experiencing moments of utter wonder and peacefulness? Absolutely.
Given the importance I place on our work to save Nashville’s Music Row, you won’t be surprised that I know of a country song that has a take on what’s important about fishing. The first verse goes like this:
“The important part of fishin’ ain’t the fish, but the fishing.
The important part of lovin’ is the love.
The important part of doin’ most anything you’re doin’
Is doin’ it with all of your heart”
For some strange reason that song came into my mind when a colleague recently shared a Simon Sinek YouTube video about how great leaders inspire action. Sinek speaks of how most people and organizations sell “what” they do, but those who truly inspire begin with the “why” that drives their work and passion. As Sinek notes, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave an “I Have a Dream”—not an “I Have a Plan”—speech. The video has sparked several terrific discussions among colleagues from around the country, shifting our thinking from the what we were building to why anyone should care. My colleague Tom Mayes’ new book—Why Old Places Matter—is right in tune with Sinek’s call.
“Doin’ it with all your heart” is just a country songwriter’s way of saying that we need to begin our work with the passion. The why. The reason that gets us out of bed in the morning. When we tie that passion with perseverance, we can be a true force of nature.
I hope you can come to your work, your play, your life with the why you do what you do at the top of your mind. It makes the how and the what so much more meaningful.
Have a good week.
More to come…