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When You’re The Fish, You Don’t See The Water

I heard this on a podcast, and it’s so true: “When you are the fish, you don’t see the water.”  I’ve also heard the same sentiment conveyed by saying, “Too close to the forest to see the trees.”  For some reason, this different version rang true for me. 

When you are the fish, surrounded by your environment literally all the time such that you are in danger of losing perspective, how can you combat that? I have some suggestions: 

  • Your spouse.  If they are willing and capable, your spouse can be a great sounding board for discussing what is going on in your daily work life and giving you feedback.  Yes, they are biased, but they aren’t surrounded by the environment every day like you are.  They care about you, so that makes them a good person to give you the feedback you need if they are able and willing.  Unfortunately for many people, it’s difficult to have deep discussions about work at home. Therefore, particularly for business owners, one of the other options may be a good backup. 

  • A mentor.  A good mentor should be someone that has encountered many of the issues that you encounter, and is able to give you objective, caring input.  Finding a great mentor takes work, and frankly it is rare.  However, if you are able to form that relationship with the right person, it can set you up for career success, whether self-employed or employed elsewhere.  A good mentor is like gold. 

  • A good friend.  Having a friend that you can discuss deeper, meaningful issues with is a treasure as well.  For business owners, sometimes this person is another business owner, just more experienced than you.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be though, as long as the person has insight into your situation.  Friends that are this deeply invested in your well-being are also treasures, and rare for just that reason. 

  • Or a coach.  The fact of our business environment these days is that it’s difficult to find someone that cares as much about you and your interests as you do.  If you are fortunate to have one or more of the three above, that is wonderful.  For many of us though, to have someone give us objective insights into our situation on an ongoing, long-term basis, it requires a more formal business relationship.  This is where a business coach comes in. Even if you have one of the first three above, you will likely find that a good business coach gives you value you don’t experience otherwise.  It seems intangible at first, but very quickly you start to see the value of the insight they can provide.  (I used a coach for over 10 years prior to becoming one and wouldn’t change a thing.) 

It is true that when you are the fish, you quickly stop noticing the water.  Being engulfed in an environment all the time, you need someone from outside that environment to help you gain perspective.  It’s my hope for you that you find that person. 

If we can be of assistance, please reach out on our Contact page. 

Have a wonderful week! 

Mark Goldman 

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Love your work! I can honestly say I check your websites weekly to see what you write about. Keep up the great articles!

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