Play. Be. The Fish Way!

In a personal development seminar this week, I was introduced to the FISH Culture. In work, play, and life it embodies four principles: 1) Play 2) Be There 3) Make Their Day 4) Choose Your Attitude. The above trailer is a quick synopsis of the hour film I soaked in but it made a big impact on me because it simply made sense!

A quote I’ve used a lot in talks I’ve given has been by the great Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” The FISH Culture is all about this. “Breaking Down the Walls,” founded by Phil Boyte is one of the programs I speak for and Phil told me one time that the key to building relationships is to 1) Play 2) Trust 3) Learn.

Both models, FISH & BDTW speak to value of playing first. What does this mean? (Inner voice) Shouldn’t we introduce ourselves and have a conversation to build rapport; maybe then go on a few dates to learn more about each other? You’ll start to notice that in either business or personal relationships it’s important to play before anything else. (Inner voice) But we don’t have time to play? I need to know your greatest strengths and weaknesses; it’s time to get down to business and we can “play” celebrate later. Hold it right there partner!


Playing is HOW we create trust! As Patrick Lencioni states, author “5 Dysfunctions of a Team,” (dysfunctions model above picture) many relationships and teams don’t have that trust built to learn and conquer the challenges of working together with people. For example, maybe you’ve heard the phrase that people do business with people they like and trust. It’s funny because I always hear about people who instantly try to sell their way into a business deal. Sure that bait might catch a fish but over the long term you’ll have a hard time catching the whole school! It’s crucial to our success that we play first. This week (if you haven’t already) I would encourage you to take your new acquaintance or team member out to play. Think for a second about your close circle of best friends. How did you create that relationship? Think back to the beginning of your time together what did you do? How did you play at first? Interestingly enough, I just thought about my 5 or so best guy friends and thought about how we met. Brian and I met playing basketball. Troy was basketball too. Nick and I met on the golf team in high school. Cody and I met showing pigs together in 4H. Jeff and I met dressing up in suits and going on bro dates to dinner and acting like important business clients flying into town trying to hit on girls in Walnut Creek. How we build relationships is by playing.

At the same seminar, CEO & Professional Speaker Bernie Stoltz coined the next phrase that serves as a prologue to the first step of playing. Who you are is who you attract into your life! Bernie says, “Be. Do. Have.” Like the FISH Culture says, “Be There.” Everything begins with you! Who you are is who enters your life. The bigger question to culture and working well with others starts with you. Who are you being today? Who are you? Are you being someone who is selfish or selfless? Are you being someone who is positive or negative? Are you being someone who embodies kindness and goodness?

The FISH Culture is a model for how to greet the day and those you interact with but more importantly your best day will start with how you greet it. Will you greet it with an attitude of gratitude? Will you greet it being your best self?

Related Blog Posts:

Making Kindness the Norm

You Become Who You Associate With

How? How Will You Live Your Life Today? 

The Story of Breana – Making a Positive Impact

The Alex & Freddie Show: Inspiring Kindness & Goodness

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