The cliché work-life balance has become a big joke, particularly in today’s economy where everyone is expected to do more for less.
But why would anyone want to do more? It is likely because of that next promotion or pay raise they may be striving for.
But are they thriving while doing so? Or are they simply killing their soul in the process?
The answer I believe depends mostly on what is it that “they” are doing. It is no secret that most people don’t like what they do for a living.
Just ask yourself today, if you were independently wealthy and didn’t need to work, what would you be doing instead of what you are doing these days? Of those folks, many simply hate what they do.
An American entrepreneur was at a pier in a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow-fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied only a little while.
The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?
The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.
The American then asked the Mexican how he spent the rest of his time.
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, senor.”
The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and, with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.
Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. “You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But senor, how long will this all take?”
The American replied, “15-20 years.”
“But what then, senor?” asked the Mexican.
The American laughed, and said, “That’s the best part! When the time is right, you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public. You’ll become very rich, you would make millions!”
“Millions, senor?” replied the Mexican. “Then what?”
The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
I still say “wow” each time after hearing or reading this short story, and I must have heard and read it over a hundred times now. What is the message here? What is it trying to tell us? Are YOU thriving toward your goals and objectives? Or are YOU killing your soul?
Do you possess the right work-life balance? If you had the option to do what you truly enjoy doing, and live life according to your own terms (not your boss), why can or cannot you do it today like the Mexican Fisherman?
Here are some additional thoughts on maintaining the right work-life balance.Previous: What Every Wannabe & New Blogger Must Know About Blogging