Fishing for Influence

I didn’t grow up fishing, but I married a woman whose father has literally written books on how and where to catch fish. On my first fishing trip with him, on a boat a mile off the coast of Sitka, Alaska, I caught a 120-pound halibut.

Personally, I love brownies and chocolate covered gummy bears. However, I have found that fish prefer worms and grasshoppers.

When I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. Instead, I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with brownies or gummy bears, rather, dangling at the end of the line was a fresh worm.

Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people? Great leaders know to influence someone; you must first understand what they want. Then, with a servant mindset, you give it to them without judgement. #gotworms


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As a Leadership Coach at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL, James Leath teaches athletes from the professional ranks all the way down to elementary school about character and leadership of self, team, coaches and critics. His widely read blog at is a top resource that educates athletes, coaches, and parents in sport psychology and personal development. James is currently finishing a graduate degree in Performance Psychology.