Achieving goals and learning from failure

I have learned recently that goal setting is an important aspect of life. When you want to achieve something, get a whiteboard or a piece of paper, write down your goals and put it somewhere you can see it every day when you wake up. If you keep seeing that, it will constantly remind you what you need to be doing.

I have a whiteboard in my shop next to my boat with all of my goals written there. I go in there every day, and this year, I have already checked off four of my goals. A lot of people don’t know this, but I got my real estate license. It was a really hard test to take, and I checked that off the list.

I also wanted to make a Top 10, and I wanted to win a major event. I checked off both of those items this past week at the Gamakatsu Bassmaster Elite Series at Lake Seminole.

I have had several tournaments where I was in the driver’s seat to win, two pretty recently, but those wins slipped away. One was at the St. Lawrence River, and I had a 7-pound lead going into the final day. All I needed to do was catch 15 pounds to win, and I went out there and caught 10 or 12 pounds.

It was devastating. But, it really helped me in this tournament at Lake Seminole. I felt calmer on the final day, where things weren’t exactly going my way, because I had been through something like that.

Last year the Bassmaster Open at the Kissimmee Chain was the second instance. The first day of the tournament I caught almost 29 pounds. I had an awesome spot, but I only caught one fish there the rest of the tournament and caught 10 or 12 pounds the last two days. Brandon Lester beat me by a pound. That was sickening. I would be fishing the Classic this year if I had won.

Those two tournaments made winning at Seminole so much sweeter. It makes it that much better. It is unbelievable. My goal was to win one of these major tournaments, and the big deal about getting a win is, I want everyone to know I am a legitimate fisherman. I am on the Bassmaster Elite Series, that is probably good enough to say that I am.

But to me, getting that win says, “Joey is a good angler. He is a professional.” Right now, I consider myself a professional angler. You can go out and be there and make a little money, but until you win a tournament and consistently do well, that is what makes you a professional. I feel like I am there now. If you work hard, you can achieve anything in life, not just in a bass fishing tournament.

Bass fishing tournaments and doing this for a living is full of down moments and negatives. You aren’t going to win most of the tournaments you fish. There are always times where it is tough. It is just the way it is because there are so many people who are good at fishing.

So, the mental aspect of fishing is so important. Everybody can do what I do on the lake. But there are certain individuals who have a positive attitude. In life in general, you have to fail if you want to succeed.

I was a pitcher in junior college, and man, some days you get rocked. It feels like you can’t do anything right, and you can’t throw the ball exactly where you want. I was a starter too, and sometimes it was two innings and you were out of the game. With baseball and fishing, I went through the same stuff. I had to battle adversity. You are going to do that in life, not only bass tournaments.

Going through those failures and knowing you can work hard, come back and succeed the next time while staying positive and learning from those moments of failure — baseball definitely helped with that.  My baseball coach would always say, “Get your hard hat and lunch pail and get back to work.”

I talk to a lot of guys who want to be a professional angler or play a professional sport, and they ask me, “What do I need to do to get where you are?” Well, you have to take a chance, and you can’t be afraid to fail. I tell kids all the time they need to go work and save up money, and if this is your goal, you need to do that. Make that your goal. The first thing is to make enough money to pay for the entry fees and get in the tournaments.

Another important aspect for becoming a successful angler and person is surrounding yourself with individuals who think positively and want you to achieve your goals too. They back you 100%. There are a lot of people who say they are your friends, but when it comes down to it, who are the people who will be there no matter what?

Surrounding yourself with positive-thinking people who care about you, you have to have that and I appreciate all of the people who support me.