This fable was shared with me by a wise and respected executive mentor of mine shortly after my first promotion into a leadership role. I have re-read it many times over the years and shared it with those who I have mentored along the way. I think we can sometimes lose sight of the important things while in the pursuit of the unimportant things. And as the saying goes, "Be careful not to judge others. You have no idea what path they are on, where they have been, or where they are going. It's their path not yours."
An American businessman took a vacation to a small coastal Mexican village on doctors orders.
After a phone call from home that upset him, he walked out on the dock and saw a single fisherman in a small boat with several large yellow fin tuna.
The American complimented the fisherman on the catch. "How long did it take you to catch the fish?" "Only a little while."
"Why don't you stay out longer and catch some more fish, returns the American."
"I have enough for my family and to give to some friends," the fisherman said as he unloaded the boat." Then what do you do with the rest of your time?" He smiles and says, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, and stroll the village in the evening while I sip wine and play guitar. I have a full and busy life, senor."
The American laughs. "Sir, I’m a Harvard M.B.A and can help you. You should spend more time fishing so that you can buy a bigger boat and hire a crew. Before you know it, you can buy more boats and increase the haul." He continues, "Instead of selling to a middleman, you could sell directly to customer, then you could expand the enterprise. The best part is that you could eventually sell the business stock as an IPO and become a millionaire.
The fisherman asks, "How long will that take?"
The American replies, "15-20 years, 25 tops"
"Then you would retire and move to a small coastal fishing village, where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, and stroll the village in the evenings while you sip wine and play guitar with your Amigos…"