A Life Lesson in Crabbing… No, Really…

Ahhh.  I bet you’ve never heard this metaphor before, but it’s a good one…  

A few weeks ago, I was on a boat crabbing on the Chesapeake Bay.   To do this, a trot line is set with chicken necks and sits on the bottom of the bay.  The boat rides alongside the trot line with a rig that pulls the line up out of the water as you pass by.  Hungry crab that are holding on to the chicken necks come up with the line.  The trick is to catch the crab in a net before the let go of the necks and disappear into the depths.  Even though I can’t eat crab (I’m allergic), it’s always a fun outing with my wife’s family. 

This particular morning, the water was choppy and the angle of the sun made it difficult to see the crab until they were just about to the water’s surface, which is usually when they let go.  It’s best to spot them a few feet down so that you can prepare to get the net under them.  I was having a very hard time catching the crab because I couldn’t see them clearly.  I decided to put on some sunglasses to cut down on the glare.  That helped.  We also strategically turned the boat around and approached the line from the opposite side.  This changed the angle of the sun on the water and I was astonished at how clearly we could now see the approaching crab.  Rather than letting them pass by unnoticed, I began catching them one right after the other. 

All right, here’s the lesson…  Life’s opportunties are always in front of us.  Sometimes, we have to change our perspective to SEE them.  Just because you don’t recognize them doesn’t mean they’re not there.  If you’re ignoring them or not looking for them, they can pass us, just like the crab.  We complain because we don’t get the promotion or the raise we desire, but are we really doing what we can showcase our talents?  What opportunties are we missing to show our spouses our love?  What special moments are we missing with our kids because we’re always in a rush?  What opportunties are we letting slip through our fingers to make a great impression on our customers in our businesses?  Too many times, these moments that could make for something significant in our lives just pass by unnoticed; wasted. 

So, how can you begin watching for new opportunties to change your life instead of just letting them disappear into the depths below?

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Got a Problem???

Hail is one of the most destructive forces in weather. It’s responsible for billions of dollars in damage to homes, cars, windows, crops and anything else outdoors each year. If you don’t believe how damaging it can be, watch this amazing video from a storm chase by Cloud 9 Tours back in 2003…

How about that? Hail is formed when strong updrafts in a severe storm carry a raindrop high into the cloud where the temperatures are below freezing. The drop freezes into a ball of ice. It then fall back toward the earth where more rain coats it before it is carried right back up into the subfreezing air where the coating of water freezes into another layer making the hail grow. With very strong storms, this can happen over and over until the hail is the size of a marble, golf ball, baseball or even softball. The largest hailstones often develop large spikes that make them that more destructive…

Life’s problems often act like hailstones. They start off small but the more we ignore them, the larger and more destructive they get. This happens all the time. A small problem in your relationships can grow into large, divisive issue if not tackled early. Charging small amounts on your credit cards each day will end up as a big bill at the end of the month. Not taking the time to really think about where you want to go with your life in the next month, year or five years can put you on a path to disaster. Don’t ignore the warning signs that something isn’t right. The housing crisis was predictable. An eventual run-up in the price of oil was predictable. A credit card crisis is likely coming because people are spending more than they make in these tough financial times. Without their homes to take out equity, more and more people are turning again to credit card debt (Financial figures from last month showed a substantial increase in unsecured debit – mainly from credit cards). If this trend continues, bankruptcies will begin rising by the end of the year. This is a relatively small problem right now that has the potential to grow into a much larger problem down the road.

So, what small small problem are you dealing with now that could grow into a destructive monster if you continue to ignore it? Think about how you can tackle it beginning today. Don’t let grow until it’s an overwhelming force. Think about the problem, come up with a plan to conquer it and then take massive action on that plan. If you don’t feel motivated, just watch the video again and picture yourself being showered by that huge hail. If you don’t work on solving the problem, that picture may become all too real all too soon!

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