Developing Your Guide Vision

On our travels we fish with other guides and we’ve noticed that all quality guides share at lease one commonality. It’s something we like to call “guide vision”. Regardless of whether you fish saltwater for bonefish or freshwater for trout, seeing fish puts you at an advantage. You might have thought that most guides just have exceptional vision, but really it’s not about having good eyes, more importantly it’s about knowing how to look at the water. We are going to give you a few pointers to start you on a path developing your own guide vision.

Keys to developing your guide vision:

Spend some money on good, quality optics and take care of them. There are several good sunglass manufacturers out there whose products are worth the $150 to $250 dollars, most of them even have options for prescription lenses. Make sure they fit properly – a high quality lense is only good if it fits correctly. Sunglass lenses should not touch your eyelashes and should not let light in from the sides or bottom. You should also consider the color of the lens, we prefer browns and coppers. Grey lenses block out too much light and yellow might let too much in for those with more sensitive eyes. Fly fishing is a visually active sport and if you can’t see your fly or the fish you are at a huge disadvantage.

Spend more time on the water (you can even tell your significant other we said so). Obviously, the best way to do this is with a guide or an experienced angler by your side. Ask questions, most guides and anglers love to share their knowledge with those eager to learn.

When you are out on the water be observant; look for subtle color changes, flashes, and movement. Don’t look for the whole fish under the water, instead look for the movement of a tail, a flash as the fish rolls on its side to eat a nymph, or a change in the color of the bottom which might be the shadow of a fish.

How many times have you been fishing from the back of the boat and the guide, who is in front of you, is able to see your fly eaten before you do. This is a simple matter of opening your vision. Don’t concentrate so hard on finding a fish that you loose your peripheral vision. Make sure that you can catch a movement or splash out of the corner of your eye. When looking at your fly you should also be able to see your fly line (is it time to mend again?), and the water surrounding your fly (is it time to recast?).

When fishing try to put your back to the sun, you’ll be amazed at how much more you can see. Put those new polarized sunglasses to work for you, sometimes it even helps to tilt your to one side or the other which can reduce glare off the waters surface.

Learn to read the water effectively to spot feeding fish. If there is surface activity due to a hatch where are the fish concentrated? Focus your attention on the most active areas and spend your time there. As you develop this skill you’ll spend more time fishing to actively feeding fish and less time fishing unproductive water.

If you spot a fish, but have to move to make a presentation make sure to mark the fish’s location so you can find him when you’re repositioned. You might do this by identifying something on the bottom or the stream bank. If you think you’re in position to make the cast don’t rush in, be patient and wait for the fish to show himself again.

Don’t get frustrated this is a skill that can take years to develop. A typical guide spends months at a time on the water so it won’t happen for you overnight. Keep practicing.

These are just a few of the keys to seeing the water and spotting fish more effectively. By learning and using these basics you’ll be on your way to developing a skill that will dramatically increase you angling abilities.

Color Psychology and a Stained Glass Fireplace Screen – RED (2 of 12)


When we stare at red for a period of time our breathing quickens, our heart rate increases and our blood pressure increases. We become impatient to act. We become filled with energy. Our desires become aroused. We become passionate about a cause. We want to move.

Red symbolizes not only our will to survive, but to do it with an intensity that makes it worth it. Red is action packed, emotionally charged and passionately exciting. It is self-assured and confidant.

Too much red makes us touchy, quick-tempered and even angry. We lose track of time, our appetites are stimulated and we can become frustrated.

Too little red causes us to be timid and cautious and withdrawn.

Red is vital to our psyche, if red is a color you avoid or hate this is an indication that you are overstimulated to the point of exhaustion and red becomes danger, fury or disgust. You find it aggressive and reject it.

It gives us hope, motivation, inspiration and eager expectation of what is possible. This is especially necessary when we have a 9-5 regulated lifestyle. Coming home from a long draining day, tired and wanting to relax, to a house filled with exciting red carpets or walls, can leave you feeling like you are going nowhere, unfulfilled, not in control of your life. No red gives you the feeling that nothing is ever going to change and will eventually lead you into depression.

Red is necessary to give us the little spark of “something exciting is possible”.

Here are some psychological observations about the different shades of red:

1. Cardinal or Scarlet – This shade contains orange. It is rich and bright and indicates a defiant enthusiasm. It is lighthearted and more playful than pure red.

2. Vermilion – This orange-red is the most provocative, animated, fun-loving shade in the entire spectrum. It promotes social interaction without aggression, enthusiasm without obligation.

3. Crimson or Carmine – This shade is red with a tinge of blue. It promotes sensuality over sexuality. It is the most sensitive of all the shades of red, assertive without being aggressive.

4. Ruby – This shade is a transparent red with blue tinge. This red abandons all personal connections. It is used to convey excitement without becoming personally involved – it is a dry commercial color.

5. Burgundy – This shade is deep red containing blue and black. It suggests dignity in action. It is less attention getting and is loved by the affluent. It subtly states “I’m in control, my word is law”.

6. Chestnut – This is a reddish-brown shade and signifies a more nurturing mode of action. It is less assertive and more diplomatic.

A common misconception in advertising is that red is all about LOVE. It’s not: red is about the action, the intensity, the arousal and “the chase”, it is not about love (love encompasses all colors in balance). Red is passionate, not usually sensual. The color red directly influences flirting, teasing and anticipation – the chase.

Advertising teaches our young folk that “the chase” is the same thing as love… an unfortunate misdirection. When sex and love are confused, mature appreciation for the opposite sex goes out the window. An apple tree is not an apple. The tree itself has taken time to mature, its roots have dug in deep and it has formed weight-bearing branches. Once the time is right it will yield its fruit of apples. Think of the tree as love and the (red) apples as sex. Yet advertisers would have us place improper emphasis on passion and sensuality, and by our use of colors jerk our emotions around. For the less mature in society, this leads to brainwashing and stereotypes. Valentine’s Day is a prime example. Think of the red merchandise you wouldn’t even glance at if it were any other day. The bright (and gaudy) red is pounding away at your mind to think about sex. But isn’t Valentine’s Day about love? See the advertiser’s misdirection? Next Valentine’s Day, consider making some beautiful burgundy or crimson hearts and watch the result.

Here are 10 suggestions of placing Red in key spots in your home. You need a balance. Items of red interspersed throughout our day give us unconscious spurts of expectation. I suggest many stained glass products because they are translucent, and allow a play of exotic shades during different times of the day.

1. Walls painted red in a kitchen unconsciously inspire us to try new recipes, often on a grand scale, it motivates the cook to veer away from mundane meals and attempt concoctions of greatness! (Make sure your smoke alarm is working!)

2. Hanging a stained glass medallion in front of the kitchen window with a pattern of multi hued reds will connect the outside to your indoor expectations. It expands your world and gives you the feeling that there is something to look forward to when you are finished cooking.

3. Red mattes around a framed photo or painting give a very personal touch of promise to the landscape or person in the picture. I suggest glossy red mosaic tiles for a distinctive flair!

4. Although quirky, red tiles scattered in the bathroom do tend to help get the blood pumping in the morning, and at night can spur positive dreams. Try to keep the tiles in either a localized pattern or a straight line, random scattering is too contrasting and hard to look at.

5. The bathroom or kitchen is also a good place to install a stained glass skylight with clear rippled glass and a few red jewels or glass chips in the pattern you choose (clear rippled glass will diffuse direct sunlight).

6. A red-infused decorative fireplace screen or a stained glass room divider in front of a bay window gives privacy and color to your space. Again, spot impressions of red highlights will create excitement and unconsciously allow your eye to find the perk it needs.

7. Installing a stained glass window saturated with red glass in your bedroom will increase the libido, bring in light and cast reflections throughout the room. Twisting red strips of fabric around tall bed posts or using a quilt with heavy usage of red fabric is a positive touch.

8. Red drapes do not work well unless they are custom created for the space. They can easily overpower a room. If you are going this route, choose a burgundy or carmine shade and offset with a lighter cream, champagne or blush under the drape. It also helps to have the drapery pool into a puddle of fabric on the floor or tie back with red or clear fringe beads. Red drapes will darken a room. Psychologically you want your room to be welcoming or you will not spend time there.

9. The fireplace is a wonderful spot to add touches of red. Wall sconces mounted on either side of the mantel balance the myopic focus of the blazing flame. If you use red infused stained glass, your eyes can see the color whether on or off.

10. When you are sitting in front of a lit fire, your vision is usually drawn to the brightest spot and the rest of the room can fade away. Let’s balance that wonderful warmth by diffusing the direct firelight and heat through a decorative fireplace screen made of stained glass. If the screen has a profusion of red and orange glass chips it will beautify the dynamic energy of the fire bringing a rich satisfaction to your comfort zone. This is one of the nicest things you can do for yourself!

Red does not have to take over your life, but put touches of red wherever you can to bring in the feeling of excitement, stimulation, hope for better things, passion and intensity.

How to Keep Your Vision Alive

Many leaders have great visions and dreams for themselves and their organizations but after a while they realize that they are not moving ahead. People do not buy into their vision and eventually they give up and their visions and dreams die! Why?

The reason is that they don’t have any strategy for keeping their vision alive. Having a strategy for demonstrating your vision, communicating it with others, monitoring the progress toward fulfilling the vision and the buy-in ratio, and finding ways to energize, motivate, and inspire more people to buy into the vision and help you and the organization fulfill the vision is necessary.

Vision Alive is a tool that can help you keep your vision alive. Vision Alive has four components: vision poster, vision caster, vision meter, and vision energizer.

Vision Poster

Vision poster simply demonstrates your vision on a poster. It is like painting your vision for others to see. Visual presentation is different from verbal presentation. When you show people a vivid picture of where you want to take them rather than just talking about it the impact would be bigger and the odds of getting there are much more. On the other hand when people continuously see something with their physical eyes they connect better and the image is carved in their subconscious mind to achieve it.

To prepare a vision poster you can do the following:

• Write down your powerful vision statement
• Identify keywords/key phrases of your vision statement
• Visualize a powerful and positive image of the future when you fulfill and live the vision
• Visualize the keywords and key phrases and link them to your mental picture of the vision
• With these mental images in mind, draw/paint what you have in mind (you may also write down some details of about your mental images)
• Have a creative painter (or graphic designer) to professionally paint what you have drawn and include the details of what you have written about your mental images in the painting
• Review the draft of your vision poster and make sure it clearly, powerfully, and positively demonstrates your vision (don’t forget to have your vision statement written on your vision poster as well)
• Revise, if necessary, and share your vision poster with other visionary leaders in your organization for their input
• Finalize your vision poster

Vision Caster

Vision caster is all about communicating your vision. As mentioned earlier, no matter how great your vision, if you cannot communicate it properly and effectively you most probably will not fulfill it. Vision Caster is combination of ways through which you communicate your vision to people.

Here are some ways by which you can cast your vision:

Posting your vision poster: you can prepare high quality color prints of your vision poster and post them in various locations so that people can see and connect with it all the time. This is a powerful method of communicating your vision.

Video: Another powerful way of communicating your vision to others is through videos. You can talk about your vision and how to achieve it and have it video recorded. Remember that the way you present yourself through video is very important. I highly recommend that you memorize what you want to talk about in a video rather than reading from notes. When you read your notes you cannot connect with your audience effectively. In videos you need to have effective eye contact, hand gestures, vocal variety, and body language. When you are energized and passionate about your vision this can be felt by those who watch you.

Audio: You can also communicate your vision with others through audio recordings. Since audio recordings do not typically involve any visual aids, you need to transmit your passion through your voice. The tone of your voice, your vocal variety, effective pauses, your pace, and clarity of your language are key factors in effective communication of your vision through audio. Please note that it is important for people to hear your voice rather than someone else’s when communicating the vision.

Face-to-face meetings: You need to remind people of the vision during face-to-face meetings. This is one of the best and most effective ways because people can directly hear it from you live. However, due to busy schedules this way of communication does not happen often these days. Nevertheless, you should make your best to communicate it to top leaders in your organization directly and remind them to communicate that face-to-face with their teams and so on.

Annual events: Annual employee meetings or events are customary in organizations. In annual meetings, you get a chance to have a speech regarding the past or current year and the year ahead. This is a great opportunity to make an impact by communicating your vision with all the employees directly and answer their questions.

It is crucial that you are well prepared. Try not to read from your notes. If you believe in your vision and have a clear picture of where you want your organization and your people to be, you do not need to read your notes. Unfortunately, many leaders fail to communicate properly with their people in such important occasions. Showing power point slides or talking about numbers only is not the right way. You need to make an impact. You need to motivate people and above all you need to inspire them. Speeches are great ways to have people buy into your vision and act toward achieving goals and dreams. If you don’t know how, you’d better to take a speech delivery class or at least become a Toastmasters member.

Trainings: By providing some training to employees on how they can help in fulfilling the organization’s vision and the benefits and rewards of living the vision, you take a big step toward success. The more people you have on board, the bigger the odds of achieving the vision.

During orientation sessions for new hires a short training on organization’s vision, how to help in fulfilling the vision, and the expectations from the management regarding the vision is necessary. If you cannot be present yourself, at least a short yet powerful video message by you in which you clearly mention the vision, the importance of fulfilling it, the benefits of living it, and your minimum expectations from employees is a must.

Letters: Once in a while you can write a letter to employees, thank them for their achievements toward fulfilling the vision, and encourage them to do better. You remind them of the benefits of achieving the vision so that they become energized. Note that benefits should be more related to them and not to you or the profit of the organization. You need to answer “What is in it for me?” question.

Greeting cards: Special occasion greeting cards can be great tools for reminding people of the vision and the importance of fulfilling it. Don’t forget the power of small. Sending greeting cards may seem a small act but the impact could be very powerful especially these days that people are fed up with lots emails. A greeting card in which you simply say “thank you” and energize the receivers with a short note regarding the vision and their role in achieving it shows people that you care. When people know that you care, they take care of you and your vision in return.

Vision Meter

Do you monitor your progress toward achieving the vision? If not, then how do you know that you are on the right track? How do you know that your people are on board? If you think that the numbers reflect that you may be wrong. Sometimes business looks good from outside but is being destroyed from inside. You always need to get feedback from people on how you are doing regarding the vision and its importance to people.

Vision Meter includes ways in determining your progress toward fulfilling the vision. Short surveys, monthly quizzes, interviews, regular verbal and written feedbacks, suggestion box, and vision score cards are among various ways that you can measure and monitor your progress and make sure your organization is on the right track toward the vision.

The output of Vision Meter process can help you in identifying the gaps and finding ways to fill those gaps. You may also need to adjust your vision, update your expectations, change your communication style, etc in order to get back on track toward success.

Vision Energizer

Vision Energizer is a process for energizing yourself and others to overcome the challenges along the way toward achieving the vision. If people are not motivated enough to face the changes and challenges that are part of powerful visions, they may not be able to stay on track for long and eventually they may give up and leave your leadership boat. Therefore, it is crucial to have strategies for energizing people to face all the challenges with enthusiasm and motivation.

Start with the self: when you are passionate and enthusiastic about and connected with the vision and people, you can energize them.

Be present: People look at you as their leader especially in tough times. Be always present and serve people. When you are present, they trust you and become motivated to help you.

Use affirmations: Positive affirmations that are practiced daily and demonstrated on people’s desks or bulletin boards are great tools in keeping people energized and motivated.

Vision celebration day: Celebrating achievements and appreciating those who have made a difference even though small toward fulfilling the vision along with energizing activities and games, prizes, inspiring and motivating speeches, and the way forward can be part of a special event called vision celebration day.

In sum, by having a vision poster to paint your dream for your people, communicating your vision in various ways to convey the importance of fulfilling the vision, monitoring your progress toward fulfilling the vision, and motivating and energizing your people to hold on to the vision and overcome the challenges along the way, you can keep your vision alive and thrive in both your professional and personal lives with people.