Below is a story that has a very solid meaning for everyone who has a job, a company, or any responsibilities in life really. It is called the Poor Mexican Fisherman and it goes like this;
A very successful American businessman was on vacation in Mexico.
As he relaxed on the beach, he noticed a poor fisherman coming in on his old dilapidated boat, with a small stringer of fish. The American complimented the fisherman on his catch and asked him how long it took him to catch that many fish.
“Not long” was the reply from the fisherman.
“Then why didn’t you stay out longer” asked the tourist?
“Because this is enough for me and my family” explained the fisherman.
“So what do you do with the rest of your time the businessman inquired?”
The poor fisherman said “I sleep late, fish for a while, play with my children, take a siesta and spend time with my wife. Then in the evening, I go into the village to visit my friends, I have a few drinks, play the guitar and sing a few songs. I have a full life.”
The American was surprised at the poor man’s ignorance. “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you become very successful. You need to spend more time on the water fishing; then you can sell the extra fish, make more money and buy a bigger boat.”
“And after that, asked the fisherman?”
The businessman continued, “With the extra money from the bigger boat, you can buy two or three boats and eventually hire more people to operate a fleet of fishing trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can start to negotiate directly with the processing plants. After a while you would be able to open your own plant. Then you could leave this little village for Mexico City and eventually, New York! From there you could operate the whole enterprise.”
“How long would that take,” asked the fisherman?
“20-25 years,” The businessman replied.
“And after that, asked the fisherman?”
The businessman continued, “Well my friend, that’s when the fun starts.” explained the tourist, “When the business gets really big, you can sell stock in the company and make millions!”
“Wow, millions. What happens after that,” asked the fisherman?
The highly educated man said “After that you’ll be able to retire and do whatever you enjoy.”
The poor fisherman looked perplexed and replied, “But, senor what I enjoy is to live on the coast, sleep in every day, do some fishing, play with my kids, take a siesta and spend time with my wife. And in the evenings I like to go out drinking and singing with my friends. Sounds to me like I am already...how do you call it.... retired?” And with that the fisherman turned and walked away.
The businessman with all his education and success was enlightened by the poor Mexican fisherman.
One of the biggest risks, we as managers’ face, is corporate burn-out. Since all good managers are highly involved in their operations, and hold a personal feeling of ownership in everything they do, they also have a tendency to never shut down the work side and keep balance between work, family, friends, and themselves. It is important to make sure that you include time for yourself along with the other big three.
While those that know me will call me out on this article, claiming that I don’t walk the walk when it comes to balance. Believe it or not I do feel that I have a good balance in my life. I really do love what I do, I consider the people I work with my friends and family, so in a twisted way I keep everything balanced.
Everyone’s idea of balance is different so it is up to you to decide what real balance is in your life. What works for me in many cases will not work for the majorly of the population. With that said you should take the time to understand where you have imbalance in your life and work just as hard to keep your life in a constant state of balance as you do to perform your job. You never know what tomorrow brings so enjoy every day as though you were ....how do you say it? .... RETIRED!