Whatever you’re doing, you can do it better.   Learn that well.

I’ve spent a large part of my vacation reading email and getting busy work done. That’s fine, but not an optimal way to ensure a vacation recharge. Alternatively I’ve gone to Sun River Oregon (if you never have been, it is amazing for a family resort) and have done a lot of bike riding. Both of these things that I did on this vacation combined to remind me of why my vacations are so important.

Sun River, for those of you that have never been, is a large resort in Central Oregon that caters to families and bike riding. A massive pine tree infused refuge built around miles of paved bike paths, tennis courts, kayaking on the Deschutes River, spa and 4 impeccable golf courses. It also is central to some of the best fly-fishing and guide services around the state.

I’ve always enjoyed fly-fishing and did a lot of it about 5 years ago. When I started I was smart enough to understand that years of spin fishing with my grandfather when I was young did not prepare me to take on this difficult sport, and so I took a year of lessons and on river guidance. I figured that I should learn good lessons rather than teach myself several bad ones, then spend more time and money unlearning them before experiencing the correct way to do it. I consider myself a reasonably good angler and decided to try my skills in Sun River.

Lesson one came early (7am to be specific) when I told my guide that I had a reasonably good roll cast. I should have known that having any fly-fishing experience in a resort town meant that I was unique to my guide who was used to helping people that just decided that they were on vacation and wanted to give fly-fishing a shot. My guide was happy that he would be fishing with someone that understood what a roll cast was and claimed to have performed one.

Roll casting is a unique type of cast that is used when you want to move a fly line upstream but do not want to or cannot use a traditional cast with the fly rod and line several feet behind you (think backed up against trees). However, I explain it better than I do it, and the lesson I learned that day was that if you are attempting to do something that you think you understand reasonably well there is always someone who can do it better and they genuinely want to help you.

My guide spotted problems in my roll cast early and we worked for the first hour getting my technique tuned up in the crooked river. Accepting instruction and admitting that you can learn a better skill is paramount to growth in business and play, particularly when you’re paying for it. Letting my guide (“The Hook” fly guides, highly recommended) improve my skill resulted in a dozen fish caught and one of the best vacation memories I have had in years.

Don’t be afraid of learning new things, and accept that people can be found that are better than you and are willing to help you achieve your best in what you do. It will make both work and play more productive and much more fun.

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