There was an advert on TV, probably 15 … maybe even 20 years ago, which I’ve never forgotten.
I’ve also never been able to find it again, annoyingly. However, as far as my memory serves me, it went something like this …
An American businessman was on a much-needed holiday in a beautiful, remote fishing village somewhere in Indonesia.
Whilst there, he got chatting to a local fisherman, asking him about his life.
“I go fishing once a week,” the fisherman said. “I spend the whole day fishing, and catch enough fish to support my family for that entire week.”
“And what do you do the rest of the week?” asked the American.
“Well, I do many things,” replied the fisherman. “I play with my children, and spend time with my wife. I visit my friends, and enjoy a few beers. I repair things in my home, I go for long walks, I help my neighbours. I have a busy life.”
The American immediately replied with a suggestion….
“You should go fishing more,” he said. “Go out once a day… not just once a week. You’ll be able to earn much more money, which you can save. You’ll then be able to buy a bigger boat, and catch even more fish, which will mean you can save even more. If you do this for 20 years, you’ll then have saved so much, you’ll never need to work again!”
The fisherman dubiously questioned his suggestion….
“So I should work every day for 20 years, and then never work a single day again?”
“Exactly!” enthused the American. “Then you can retire, knowing you have the financial security to do so. And you can spend the rest of your life enjoying time with your family. Spending time with your wife and children, visiting your friends and neighbours, resting, and enjoying life without any stress.”
“But …” said the fisherman, “In 20 years, my children will be adults, and my wife and I will be old, and I will have missed all that time because I will have been working … Why would I want to spend the next 20 years working so hard, only to achieve the lifestyle that I already have?”
I don’t remember the American’s response. I don’t suppose I needed to though.
I also don’t remember what the advert was “selling” … but I think it was Mastercard, as part of their brilliant “Priceless” campaign. Certainly it would make sense …
“Some things in life are priceless” … As went their tagline …
And indeed it is so. Time to spend with family, friends, yourself. This IS priceless. And this is also one of the main reasons most of us start our own businesses.
We become self-employed so as to enjoy FREEDOM. And flexibility. The flexibility to be able to spend our time in the way that we want. With our families, our friends, our children …
Yet, frequently, our reality of being self-employed isn’t as we imagined. And rather than mirroring this charmed fisherman’s life and enjoying the majority of each week as we please, we are more aligned with the American … Working all hours, getting busier and busier … and quite possibly, spending even less time with our families than before we started our own business.
This is all too common with most of my clients, and underpins the core principles of my coaching, and my 3Fs program’s …
That American businessman represents what so many of us believe. That working long, hard hours is the key to being successful.
That BUSYNESS is a sign of SUCCESS.
But at the risk of sounding blunt – He’s wrong.
All of which will look different to different people … But I’ll put money on your idea of success looking much closer to the fisherman’s lifestyle, than the American’s.
Of course, in reality I’d say there is a middle ground. That the fisherman perhaps would benefit from a little more financial security than just the week ahead …
But the principle of that story represents exactly what I want to … and DO … help people with.
I help people work out how to be financially secure – WITHOUT the busyness…
So that they CAN enjoy freedom.
So that they CAN live the life that spurred them to set out on this path.
I help the “Americans” become the “fisherman”.