Fishing for Lobster, it’s who you know!

Models of life are often models of business. We could consider this blog entry a work-life parallel, but our lives should not be defined by one or the other. We should be working toward lives that work seamlessly, rather than parallel.

Rockland, Maine is known as, “The Lobster Capitol of the world.” I spent time on an island earlier this month off the coast of Rockland with some friends. Mike and Dana–my Island Family–had settled in and greeted me warmly when I arrived.

The week prior, Dana had talked to a Rockland friend whose daughter, Amanda, and husband, Josh, co-captain a lobster fishing boat. With the prospect of fresh lobster in mind, she immediately texted Amanda:

D- “Hi Amanda, your mom gave me your number. For the month of August, we will be on Treasure Island. Houseguests will be coming and going, of course they will want fresh lobster! Could you help us out once a week?”

A-“Hi Dana, my husband and I can help you. We fish near the pb buoy.”

D-“Where is the pb buoy?” (I wondered, “What is a pb buoy?” Dana knew what it was, but not where.)

A-“The Penobscot Bay buoy, off the coast of Vinylhaven.”

D- I would love 16. I like shredders about a pound and a quarter-ish.” (When Amanda gave Dana a location, she gave her directional tools. She quickly rebounded!)

Early Thursday morning, Dana texted Amanda,

D-“What is the name of your boat?”

A-“The boat is Ours and Hours.”

D-“I will head out that way in a bit and look for your boat.”

Later that morning, we set out on our adventure in the island boat. The trip to Penobscot Bay proved interesting. Dana called the water around us a “jelly bean sea”. Hundreds of lobster trap buoys dotted the sea with more colors than a 64-count Crayola Box. The colored “beans” bounced as we sped toward a big white boat we decided had to be the “Ours and Hours”. Then we get a text.

A-“Big red boat”

The crew in the white boat must have been slightly alarmed by our chase. We were lucky they didn’t call the Coast Guard!

We found the big, beautiful “Ours and Hours” and witnessed Amanda and her crew pull lobster crates and open them quickly and efficiently. Lobsters have to be a designated size; if not, they are returned to the ocean. We watched a significant number of the smaller ones get tossed back into the sea.

We thanked everyone for a great experience and turned our boat toward home.

Eight more guests came up for the weekend. We enjoyed the sweetest lobsters on earth, laughed about our white boat chase, and bragged about our newfound lobster friends. The next day Dana texted Amanda:

D-“Good morning! We had fun meeting you out in the bay. You have a beautiful boat! If you are going out to haul today could you put aside another 20 shedders/pound and a quarter-ish? Thanks!”

This was a delicious win/win!

The parallels and take-aways:

  1. Explore your network—get to know the people around you.
  2. Make your inquiry clear and succinct.
  3. Respond with clarity. Do not use acronyms unless the meaning has been established. When giving directions, assume the person/people you are talking to have never been there before.
  4. Be polite and respectful. There is no excuse; it’s easy to do.
  5. Ask the other person if they understand or have questions. Remember, they are not in your head.
  6. End the conversation with clear expectations and outcomes.
  7. Follow up quickly if it’s a relationship that you would like to establish and cultivate.

We take the simplest things for granted. On the flip side, it takes a few very simple steps to ensure clear communication and leverage a great experience for everyone. Most importantly, get to know your network. The person you need to know is closer than you think!