Confidence and Fly Fishing

Do you have a goal or desire to create something new in your life?  Stop waiting until you feel confident enough to start.  Courage and Confidence come after we take action, so take that first step towards whatever your goal is and feel your confidence grow.  I learned this lesson again recently while spending the day in nature learning a new skill.

My husband and I bought a certificate for fly fishing lessons at a school auction last year, and then he bought me a fly fishing rod for Christmas.  We had tried fly fishing once before on a trip to Montana, but that outing was spent also tending to a screaming child who declared it “the most boring day ever”, so I don’t count that one.

We had a dry land lesson a few days before our most recent outing to learn 2 different ways to cast, and a few different ways to tie knots.  My casting was a little awkward at first, but by the time we were finished with our lesson, I was feeling pretty comfortable.

When we arrived at the river, I also learned that there are different categories of flies – Streamer, Nymph & Dry.  I also learned what a Strike Indicator, Split Shot and Float Gel are.   Who knew there were so many new things to learn about this style of fishing?  By this point, I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed with everything I was learning, and I just wanted to fish already.

Once in the water, our instructor pushed me to wade a little deeper, because that’s where the fish are.  I was scared to, because didn’t want to risk going for an unintentional swim or getting water in my waders. However, I slowly kept moving to where it was deeper, and I was able to start seeing the fish my instructor had been telling me were there.  I also was able to start noticing the types of flies the fish were biting on.  I did get water in my waders, but I was so focused on taking everything in that I didn’t care. 

And guess what?  I didn’t catch a fish.  Damn, that would’ve been a great story if I had caught a fish.  But I didn’t.  And you know what that means? NOTHING!  I didn’t catch a fish. Period. The end. 

So here’s what I’m taking away (and I hope you do, too) from my fly fishing experience: First, often when you’re learning something new, there’s so many little things to learn that go along with it.  This can be tedious and seem overwhelming, but it’s also necessary be good at the small things.  Second, we need to push ourselves to places that we may be afraid of in order to succeed.  Fear is just your brain trying to keep you safe from the unknown, and when we feel the fear and move forward anyway, what used to scare us can start to feel natural. Third, we can do all the things required in learning a new skill and still not end up with the desired outcome.  What you make that mean is up to you.  For me, on this particular day, it just means I didn’t catch a fish. 

By the way, that’s my husband in the background.  He did catch a fish.  Was I jealous?  Yes.  It’s difficult not to be when you’re doing the same things another person is doing and they have success and you don’t.  More importantly, though, is knowing that the fact that I didn’t catch a fish still means nothing other than I didn’t catch a fish. Will I go back to the river to fly fish?  You betcha’.  And with a little more confidence

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