Nature and the Pursuit of Life: What is the “Trophy” in Life?


I was hunting on a ridge, 19 feet up in a poplar tree located in a spot where several saddles and deer trails converged. I had hung this tree stand during the spring, after locating it during my winter time scouting.

The rut was in full swing and the big bucks were up on their feet trolling for some loving. The stand location leveraged every variable, from the wind direction to the angles of cover in order to avoid being busted when, as my pal Michael Waddell puts it, “Old Sad Daddy” reveals himself to me in shooting range .

This was one of those moments where you sit back in your tree stand and you feel proud. You feel this deep sense of confidence, calm, and endorphins rushing in simultaneously. It was a magical moment that a dedicated sportsman feels when they are attuned with nature and in the moment. I thought to myself, “this is about as perfect of a feeling as I can experience.”

It made me ponder the question “what is the trophy really?” At that very moment, an epiphany came down upon me that forever changed my views on the woods, business, family and life in general.

So what, you might ask, was this epiphany? I realized that too often in life we over-obsess with the kill, or with the closing, instead of the pursuit. When I think of successes I have had in the field, in business, and in life, one thing rings true every time. It was actually the moment that I knew “it” was about to happen, when my thinking deeply resonated with my inner feelings, and I was about to will “it” to happen. Hence, it is more about “break through moments” then “break out moments.” It is the moment when you realize that the hard work, the dedication to excellence, the patience, and the practice were about to pay off and this represents the “break through moment.”

As I write I am looking at the multiple amazing whitetails I have arrowed on my office wall, and I can remember the break through moments, or the moments before I released my arrow, far more than what took place afterwards. My point is that sometimes it is about the sit, or the moment before the arrow is released, far more than the kill. It is about being one with nature, being conscious at higher levels with a keen awareness that is known best by a passionate outdoorsman. With this mindset, we are likely to get more out of life in the woods, our home, and our careers. After all, it truly is about the journey and not the destination.

Have an amazing weekend and see you next week.

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