An Academic’s Perspective on FISH!

Fish!: A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results by Ludin, Paul and Christensen

As an academic, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind of teaching, research, and administrative tasks. However, the principles outlined in the book “FISH!” by Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Christensen offer a fresh perspective on how academics can approach their professional and personal lives to create a more positive and fulfilling environment. By applying the key concepts of choosing your attitude, playing, making their day, and being present, academics can transform their workplace and personal lives, leading to increased job satisfaction, improved relationships, and a more rewarding career.

“First, by accepting that you choose your attitude, you demonstrate a level of personal accountability and proactivity”
Stephen C. Lundin

Summary of the Book
“FISH!” tells the story of Mary Jane, a newly promoted manager facing the challenge of leading a team known for its negative attitude and poor performance. Through a chance encounter at the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, Mary Jane learns the four key principles that have transformed the fish market into a vibrant and successful workplace. These principles are: Choose Your Attitude, Play, Make Their Day, and Be Present. By applying these concepts to her team, Mary Jane witnesses a remarkable transformation in their attitudes, productivity, and overall job satisfaction.

Summary of the Key Points

  1. Choose Your Attitude: Regardless of the circumstances, individuals have the power to choose their attitude and approach to work and life.
  2. Play: Incorporating play and creativity into daily tasks can make work more enjoyable, leading to increased engagement and productivity.
  3. Make Their Day: By focusing on positively impacting others, whether colleagues, students, or loved ones, individuals can create a more supportive and uplifting environment.
  4. Be Present: Fully engaging in the present moment and giving undivided attention to others fosters stronger relationships and improved communication.

Application of the Key Points to the Life of an Academic
As an academic, I find the FISH! philosophy particularly relevant to our unique challenges and responsibilities. By consciously choosing a positive attitude, we can approach our teaching, research, and interactions with colleagues and students with enthusiasm and optimism. This not only improves our own experience but also creates a more engaging and supportive learning environment for our students.

Incorporating play and creativity into our teaching methods and research projects can help break the monotony and spark innovation. Encouraging our students to approach learning with a sense of curiosity and fun can lead to deeper engagement and better outcomes.

In our interactions with colleagues, students, and staff, focusing on making their day can foster a more collaborative and supportive academic community. Simple acts of kindness, recognition, and encouragement can go a long way in creating a positive work environment.

Finally, being present is crucial in the academic setting. By giving our full attention to our students during lectures, office hours, and mentoring sessions, we demonstrate our commitment to their learning and growth. Similarly, being present in our research and collaborations with colleagues can lead to more meaningful and productive outcomes.

My thoughts
I believe that applying the FISH! Philosophy in my role as an academic can greatly improve my professional and personal life. By making a conscious effort to choose a positive attitude, even in the face of challenges like heavy workloads or difficult student interactions, I can maintain a sense of perspective and focus on opportunities for growth and improvement. Incorporating elements of play into my teaching and research can reenergize me when the work starts to feel mundane. Always looking for ways to positively impact my students, colleagues, and loved ones gives me a sense of purpose. And by reminding myself to be present in each interaction or task, I can experience a deeper level of connection and fulfillment in my work. Overall, the FISH! Philosophy provides a roadmap for creating a more joyful, engaged, and impactful academic life.

Action Steps and Next Steps

  1. Start each day by consciously choosing a positive attitude and setting an intention for the day.
  2. Identify opportunities to incorporate play and creativity into your teaching, research, and interactions with others.
  3. Look for ways to make someone’s day, whether through a kind word, a helpful gesture, or public recognition of their achievements.
  4. Practice being fully present in your interactions with students, colleagues, and loved ones by minimizing distractions and giving them your undivided attention.
  5. Regularly reflect on your progress in applying the FISH! Philosophy and make adjustments as needed.
  6. Share the FISH! Philosophy with colleagues and encourage them to adopt these principles in their own professional and personal lives.
  7. Continuously seek out new opportunities to apply the FISH! Philosophy in different aspects of your academic life, such as in committee work, community outreach, or professional development.

By consistently applying the principles of the FISH! Philosophy, academics can create a more positive, engaging, and fulfilling work environment for themselves and those around them. The ripple effect of these actions can lead to a more vibrant and supportive academic community, ultimately benefiting students, colleagues, and the institution as a whole.