Fishing for Career Success

I’m always surprised at how often solid career advice gets turned in a fad and then seems to disappear.  For example, the Fish Philosophy ( was all the rage several years ago.  I even conducted a few Fish Philosophy workshops for a couple of my clients. 

The Fish Philosophy was based on the way the guys work at the Pike Street Fish Market in Seattle.  If you’ve seen the movie, you know that there are four components to the Fish Philosophy: 1) Play; 2) Make Their Day; 3) Choose Your Attitude; and 4) Be There.

Lots of people saw the video, read the book and attended Fish Philosophy workshops.  Then suddenly, the Fish Philosophy dropped off the radar.  That’s too bad.  I think it contains some great career advice. In this post, I’d like to revisit the fish Philosophy and show you that it is still relevant to your life and career success.

Let’s start with “play.”  Tweet 7 in my latest career success coach book Success Tweets says, “Figure out what you really want to do.  Work you love will make it easier to create the successful life and career you want and deserve.”  There’s an old saying that if you find a job you love, you’ll never work another day in your life.

The guys at the Pike Street Market have a dirty, smelly physical job.  Yet they love what they do.  So they have fun with it.  In turn, having fun on the job leads to high performance. 

Blogging is fun for me.  I really enjoy figuring out new ways to present my ideas about life and career success.  People often say to me, “How can you blog every day?  It must be exhausting.”  My answer is simple.  I blog everyday because it is fun for me.

I have a career success coach client who is a plant manager for a large manufacturing company.  Whenever I visit him, he always seems to be dealing with a never ending stream of problems — some big, some small.  When I asked him how he does it and remains sane, he told me, “I’m an engineer.  I love solving problems.  To me these problems aren’t headaches, they’re a challenge to my creativity.  I have fun solving them.”

The career advice here is simple.  Find work that you love and you’ll have fun doing it.

Now let’s talk about the second point in the Fish Philosophy, Make Their Day.  The guys at the Pike Street Market work hard to provide each customer with an engaging and enjoyable experience.  Even if you have no real outside customer contact, you can apply the same career advice in your day to day work.

Tweet 128 in Success Tweets says, “When meeting someone new ask yourself, ‘What can I do to help this person?’  You’ll build stronger relationships by thinking this way.”  Apply this career advice not just when you meet someone new, but with the people with whom you work every day.  Do what you can to make their day.

When you think about what you can do to help other people be successful in their jobs, you’ll build a great reputation.  Everyone will want to work with you.  You’ll get selected for high profile project teams.  By making your co-workers’ and bosses’ day, you’ll be creating your life and career success.

Now let’s talk about “Choose Your Attitude.”  Tweet 32 in Success Tweets says, “Stuff happens as you go about creating your life and career success.  Choose to respond positively to the negative stuff that happens.”  The operative word here is “choose.”  You’re a human being, you have free will.  You get to decide how you respond to everything that happens to you.

Think about the plant manager I mentioned above.  He chooses to respond positively to the little – and big – headaches that come his way every day.  He says it makes his job fun.  More important, by choosing to respond positively, he doesn’t waste time and energy complaining about what happens.  He just goes about his business and solves the problems that come his way.

This bit of career advice is really important.  The more you are willing to go with the flow, see problems as opportunities and not blame others, the more likely you are to create your career success.  As the tweet says, choose to respond positively to the negative stuff that happens.

Finally, let’s talk about being there.  Being there means being present.  In yesterday’s post, I highlighted some career advice from Seth Simonds.  Being present was one of the points he made.  I focused on Tweet 21 in Success Tweets.  It says, “You’re in charge! Commit to taking personal responsibility for creating the life and career success you want and deserve.” 

When you commit to taking personal responsibility, you commit to being present — to focus on the task at hand, to focus on the person with whom you’re in a conversation.  Being present in conversation is the greatest gift you can give others.  Being present by focusing totally on your work is the greatest gift you can give yourself.

The common sense career success coach point here is simple.  The Fish Philosophy works – if you work it.   Commit to the following these four simple, but important bits of career advice.  1) Play; 2) Make Their Day; 3) Choose Your Attitude; and 4) Be There.  If you do, you’ll be on your way to creating the life and career success you want and deserve.

That’s my take on the Fish Philosophy and career success.  What’s yours?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment.  As always, thanks for reading.


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