“Speed is irrelevant if you are going in the wrong direction.” – Mahatma Ghandi
Is it just us, or does everything just seem to move faster these days? We’ve long known the world (and hence markets) to be a noisy place, full of all sorts of things vying for our attention, but our always-on media and constant connectedness is increasingly challenging our ability to keep up and stay rooted to what’s true and important. Anybody with us on this?
Therein lies an opportunity! More and more, your TG team is convinced that a critical part of what we do is “slowing down” together and with you, fighting to stay unhurried in a hurried world. And as is often true, a story may serve best to illustrate, so let me tell you about a 22-year old surfer-bro-looking fishing guide named Caleb.
I had the opportunity for a much-needed rest in September. This came in the form of a good friend’s invitation to join a fly-fishing trip on the Big Horn River in Montana with a wonderful group of business & non-profit leaders. Everyone showed up in some state of weary from their version of hurriedness. Cell coverage was spotty, and the lodge purposely lacked a Wi-Fi connection. The mornings greeted us with colorful sunrises over the surrounding fields, grazing deer, a wandering black bear, and meaningful conversations over coffee.
While the time on the river was beautiful, the fishing was good, but not great, for the first couple of days. Then Caleb happened.
On the last day, my fishing buddies for the day and I learned we were paired with the best guide on the team. His long blonde hair & California surfer looks didn’t inspire much fishing confidence, but we’d heard the rumors all week …
From the start when we loaded up the trucks to head to the launch, it was clear that Caleb was anything but hurried. In fact, when we were the last ones on the river, I could feel my own patience and that of the others in my boat being tested. Wouldn’t it be better to be the first ones down the river? And yet here was Caleb, sitting on the shore carefully tying on our flies seemingly unfazed by every other boat launching in front of us.
It didn’t take long to see that Caleb knew what he was doing. We drifted through the first short section of river without a hit. Caleb calmly and confidently proclaimed “there’s a fish in here” and re-rowed the section (rowing upriver so we could fish the same section again). He changed the depth on our flies and we drifted it again. Second run, no fish. Then he re-rowed it again, once again changing the depth of our flies and still confident. I wondered, is he sure about this? Third time through, BOOM! Big fish, and from that moment on we knew we were in good hands.
The day ended up being my best and most fun day fly fishing ever and even the more seasoned fishermen in the boat said it was the best they’d ever had on a Montana river. We pulled fifteen fish out of one wading hole over the course of two hours. When the fishing cooled in that spot after an hour, I asked Caleb if it was time to move on, assuming we’d fished it out. He coolly said no, “we’ll just let it rest”, and we sat on the shore talking and enjoying the view while he slowly and methodically combed the bright green New Zealand wool we were using as our fishing indicator. We caught as many fish in the second hour as the first.
I don’t know exactly what it was about this young man that gave him the ability to be so confident and present on the river with men more than twice his age. What I do know is that Caleb’s slowing us down, refusing to let us bring our hurry and impatience into the boat, is what made it a special experience that neither I nor the other guys in the boat will ever forget.
It also inspires us to wonder how we might do the same as financial guides with an aim to bring optimism about life and money. Even as the noisy rivers of our world and markets swirl around us, how do we slow down together to appreciate the good and find those pockets of productive water that will yield the most meaningful outcomes?
Are you feeling hurried? How about others you know? It’d be our privilege to help. Sometimes we all just need a little help reading the water.
With rooted optimism,