Babe, You’re the Best.
My B.F.F. spotted him from across the room, and was too awed by his presence to introduce herself. Having just tuned into the fishing world myself, he just seemed to be the most popular (and most confident) person in the room.
I later learned that I was in the presence of a “fishing celebrity”… a frontiersman in the quest to bring the outdoors indoors, and thus get more people out there fishing and enjoying nature. This paragraph on Wikipedia really struck a chord with my entrepreneurial spirit and my love of the business of branding (my other business is Brand Right).
After helping build a successful construction business with his father, Winkelman listened to his true calling and in the early 1970s took a huge risk by starting Babe Winkelman Productions. It would be a company bearing his name and his personality, its mission to teach others how to be successful when fishing and hunting while always remaining respectful of the natural world.
Now I definitely get why we tuned into each other so quickly. After reading that his shows often featured his wife and included his daughters (reportedly both proficient anglers! go girls!) on his fishing trips, I got why he tuned in to our mission.
I was grateful for the advice of a person who had successfully helped to bring the benefit of fishing to so many souls. This is how I would sum it up:
• Don’t bullshit people.
• Don’t believe it when people bullshit you.
• Overvaluing celebrity is bullshit.
• Keep your sincere intention of wanting help people.
• People will dislike you. Don’t let it bother you too much, just keep doing what’s good.
(I really needed to hear all this after being recognized by the host of one of my favorite fishing TV shows, Peter Miller, of Bass2Billfish! It was still a great moment, not because I was recognized, but because I was valued for my contribution…)
Although I couldn’t hear the answer, Deb asked Babe if there was a particular catch that he remembered the most fondly. She shared his response on the long ride home to Fort Myers… and it might as well have been mine, minus a few thousand catches… and probably not quite as eloquent. He related that each catch was unique and he enjoyed them all in a different way. I really love that answer. If someone asked me the same, I might go on for hours relating every detail of every significant catch in my 3-year fishing career. Or perhaps just said, “All of them are my favorites!”
Thanks, Babe. You’re the best. I’m aiming to get more people—and especially more women and kids—out there fishing. I’m sure we’ll meet again, at another party or maybe in “fishing-heaven.” Until then, hey…good fishing!