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  • Writer's pictureDavid A. Van Wie

About This Blog

This blog takes its name from one of the first lessons everyone learns when fly-fishing. And its a lesson that carries over into other aspects of life. WatchYourBackCast is not just about fly fishing, it covers an array of topics related to how we humans relate to the environment around us.

Standing in a stream, I can be utterly focused on getting an extra few feet out of my cast, trying to reach a rising fish. In that moment, I foolishly forget about the tree behind me, and snag my fly in the foliage on the back cast, just at the moment of truth.

Totally preventable. Truly humiliating to lose a favorite fly, and to waste precious moments tying on a new fly and leader. Chances are the fish will lose interest, or be spooked to another pool by the time I am back in business.

There is also the danger of hooking your partner on the back cast. I once hooked my wife in the arm, and she still refuses to go in a canoe with me when I am fly-fishing, even 20 years later.

I have been the victim of an errant back cast myself, starting a new fashion trend with a Hornberg dry fly as a nose piercing. For more on that story, see my article "Fly in the Nose and Other Occupational Hazards."

“Watch your back cast” is a lesson that holds true in other aspects of our lives.

Time and again, as we try to extend our reach, we fail to account for other aspects of our enterprise that are a critical part of moving forward, some of them predictable, but not in our line of site. And so we run into unexpected and untimely snags.

For example, a business owner who tries to expand into a new market with an aggressive sales goal might find that the new hires on his sales team are not knowledgeable enough, or are spread so thin that they can’t maintain the level of service customers require. Or that deliveries are delayed because suppliers can’t synchronize production to meet the demand. A focus on expansion and sales goals may be sabotaged by other problems lurking in the background.

Or in government, a political leader might try to advance a new policy initiative, but if she fails to consult all the affected stakeholders, the initiative will stumble out of the gate, creating opposition from those who might have been allies.

They weren't watching their back cast.

Mercifully, not every one of my blog posts will be a back cast analogy. I suspect most will not be. Wouldn’t that get dull fast!

However, I may come back to the theme of how life lessons from one pursuit might apply in other contexts. I hope you enjoy my posts.

And if you, dear reader, have a good "back cast" story to share, please send it along.

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