May 2020 News/Columns

Waypoints: Passion & Hard Work

When we teach kids how to fuse hard work and passion great things happen like raising $12,500 for a good cause.
Photo by: Geremy Olson


Waypoints: Passion & Hard Work

Learning to fish and live life.

by Geremy Olson

WayPoint: You can have all the passion in the world and achieve nothing. Passion fused with hard work and integrity will draw together a group that will change the world.


Twelve years ago, in April, I had the opportunity to participate in my very first fishing tournament. It was a fundraising event for a local charity and it gave me the opportunity to fish with my two oldest sons. They were six and eight at the time. We woke up at four o’clock in the morning, drove two hours away to a place we had never fished before, all to support a good cause. It was a cold day on the water and we only weighed one fish. In all fairness to the boys, I lost the winning fish at the boat with a less than stellar dad netting job and we took fifteenth place instead of first.

Ten years later the two little boys I had in the boat during that first tournament were running their own tackle company and sponsoring tournaments. Every December we sit down and look at the projects that we are going to support during the next year. During this conversation one of the boys asked why that first event we fished hadn’t grown at all?

Organizations like Fishing for Life point kids in the right direction.

I had to think about it for a minute. It was a good question. There were a lot of well intention, passionate people involved. They really cared about the cause. But that’s where it ended. They are not doing what it takes to improve the event and more importantly their organization. They were okay with only having passion and were not willing to put in the hard work that demonstrates their passion they said they had for the cause. The boys decided to look for some different organizations to support that year. Organizations that had more than just passion for their cause.

Each of us can list the great ideas and organizations we see that aren’t going anywhere. People with genuine passion about a cause, but that’s where it ends. As parents and coaches, we need to put in the time to learn with the kids we are passionate about. We can’t give answers like “just because” or “I said so”. We need to lead by example so they can learn through that example.

What does this have to do with fishing?

Great things happen when we work as a team with passion.

Well, if you’re reading this, there is a pretty good chance you are addicted to fishing…sorry, I meant to say passionate about fishing. I will also wager that if you are a “good stick”, then you also put in the time and energy that it takes to catch fish consistently. Take all of that passion, time and energy and teach it by example to the kids in your life. When you do, you have taught them a life-long leadership principle and great things happen, all this while you are on the water doing what you love.

This year at the end of May, our family will head to Brainerd, Minnesota to participate in the Minnesota Fishing Challenge. Last year 150 two-angler teams got together and raised over $420,000 to help people they don’t know overcome substance abuse.

At the end of the day, it’s more important to work together.

Many of these anglers spend the entire year sharing and fundraising because they’re passionate about the impact MN Adult and Teen Challenge has across the upper Midwest. The difference is that these anglers and MN Adult and Teen Challenge don’t rely only on their passion, they use their passion to fuel them to put in the hard work that it takes to make a difference.

We experience causes in life that we are passionate about, people that need help and organizations that can make a difference. To make a difference we need to step out of our comfort zone, put some in hard work and take some risks together. We need to do it with integrity and competence. If we don’t, nothing happens. When we do, great things happen.

You can have all the passion in the world and achieve nothing. Passion fused with hard work and integrity will draw together a group that will change the world.

(Geremy Olson grew up in the outdoors. After being burned as a volunteer firefighter, he had to figure out how to teach outdoor skills to his children from a wheelchair while learning to walk. Today he is an inspirational speaker, Fellowship of Christian Athletes North Dakota Coordinator, ND AIM Tournament Director, Outdoorsman, Producer, Wildfire Consultant & Public Speaker ( He is also the proud father of the owners of Missouri Secrets Tackle.)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

You may also like