“The Big One 2018” WINNER
For the last two and a half years (three deer seasons) I have not harvested any deer with my bow simply because I was waiting on “the one.”
Over the course of those two and a half years I have focused on improving in key areas of my life in order to become a better man. One of those areas is in being honest with myself and keeping my word to myself. Sounds self serving, right?
Not at all. Let me explain it short and sweet- if we are willing to lie to ourselves, if we are willing to break our word to ourselves... we are far more likely to lie and break our word to others. In past I have been notoriously bad at this.
So one thing I have established is an internal code that says I will not lie to myself and I will not break my word when I set a goal and set out to achieve that goal.
Let’s Circle back around to me not harvesting a deer for three seasons. I started bow hunting three years ago thanks to a good friend of mine. One day while visiting him in our hometown he asked if I had started bow hunting yet. When I replied no, he proceeded to tell me how I was missing out. How once I get into it I will never really want to hunt with a rifle again.
As the conversation came to a close I said something to the effect of “maybe when l save up enough I will purchase a bow and start bow hunting.” Little did I know, my good friend, loyal and always there for me, would take one of his bows off the wall and give it to me right in that moment. Not only did he give me a bow, he gave me the first bow he ever bought and competed with during our senior year of high school. A $1,500+ bow that he worked for and paid for himself. Man... how humbling is that!
I know your sitting there saying “get on with the point, Paul!” Here it is... the impact that had on me was profound. I was so appreciative and honored. So much so, that I made a commitment- that I would not harvest any deer with the bow until I could harvest “the one.” Little did I know this would be one thing I would use to measure how I was doing with keeping my word to myself and being honest with myself. (Sometimes we do not realize the impact - small or large- until we reflect)
Back to the deer... Now I understand that “the one” is different for everyone. Let me break it down further. I made a commitment that my first deer with that bow would be a buck. Not just any buck. It had to be bigger than any buck I had ever shot with a rifle.
Three seasons... four if you count the 1/3 season when I first received the bow.
Over the last several seasons I have seen many doe, many buck, many unique deer cross my path. I would be lying if I told you it was easy to pass on all of them. I’d be lying if I told you there weren’t times when I almost settled. I’d be lying if I told you there weren’t times I really wanted to grab a rifle to make it easier on myself... Knowing I could easily take a deer from a few hundred yards away without them ever knowing I was there.
But I didn’t! Each time I would want to “cheat” and break my word to myself, I would quickly remind myself that it may produce immediate, easy gratification, but in the long game, it would also produce a void.
The void that comes when not living in integrity. Not living up to the challenge. Not being disciplined.... succumbing to the easy way.
So there I was, January 1, 2019. I had spent an entire week hunting... nothing. “The one” was elusive, wise, stealthy, and just did not appear. But on January 1 I sat in the freezing cold. Waiting, hoping, and about to give up.
I was so cold the blind was shaking from my shivering body. I thought in my mind, “ain’t no way “the one” is going to walk up.”
Deer all around me... doe, buck, Turkey in the distance... the cold had finally got to me. I had given myself 10 more minutes and I was going to pack it up and head to the house where it was warm. But Suddenly all the deer start acting a little different. I thought to myself “ok, what’s this? Let’s stick around and see what is going on.” Sure enough, “the one” came barreling down the fence line. As he approached, the other deer stood at attention as if giving respect. It was an intense moment!
Then the neighbors feeder went off and he left. The End.
Ha! True story. But 20 minutes later he came right back!
The chess match was on!
January 1, 2019 I harvested the biggest buck I’ve ever harvested. And I did it with my bow. The first buck ever taken by me with that bow.
Here’s the interesting thing- no doubt harvesting this beauty after three seasons has produced an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. But here is the twist of fate... after reflecting on the last two and half years leading up to harvesting this deer what I have realized is taking “the one” deer in reality turned into “the one” thing in my life I feel has made a huge difference- being honest with and keeping my word to myself.
After a while my mindset went from “I’ve got to do this for the sake of doing it... bragging rights” to “ive got to do this because I told myself I was going to do this... and I cannot beak my word to myself.”
It’s interesting how something so seemingly insignificant can actually have such tremendous impact when it is all said and done.
Are you on the hunt for “the one” thing in life you feel will make it all worth it?
The hunt for Improved relationships, greater faith, financial gain, greater impact, greater influence, self improvement, better health.
There are literally tons of lessons I have learned as I reflect on this journey, but here is “the one” lesson I would like you to consider:
Pick “the one” thing in your life that you need to focus on this year. “The one “ thing you feel will make you a better man. A better husband, a better father, a better friend, a better co worker, a better boss. Pick “the one” thing and focus your efforts on that one thing. Don’t lie to yourself. Keep your word to yourself. See how it impacts your life and the lives of those around you.
This journey- the journey of keeping my word to myself and being honest with myself has improved many areas of my life. It’s fostered discipline, dedication, perseverance, self restraint, self improvement, ownership, mastery of skill, practice, focus, fortitude, the list goes on. Am I perfect at it? NO! Are there still improvements to be made? ABSOLUTELY! But that does not mean I have not made tremendous progress.
I’m a better man today because I focused on “the one.”