Just as the rudder of a ship determines its destination, so to does one’s definition of success determine one’s destination in life. Yes, how you define success is that powerful!
An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican Village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.Inside the boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The banker complimented Miguel, the Mexican, on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. Miguel replied that it took only a little while.
The banker then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish. Miguel said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The banker then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”Miguel 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 banker 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.”Miguel asked, “But senor, how long will this all take?” To which the banker replied, “15-20 years.” “But what then, senor?” The banker laughed and said “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce a public listing and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.””Millions, senor? Then what?”The banker 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 a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings, where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”What is your definition of success and how are you getting there?As the story of Miguel so eloquently illustrates, life success is so closely tied to our values and the way that we want to live our lives. We can easily lose direction and what is truly important to us by being drawn to what success means to other people, ideologies, or pop culture. Being clear on what success means to you and how you are working toward it is EVERYTHING! Check YourselfTake a moment to ponder the direction that your current choices are leading you in your life, career, relationships, and health. Now, make sure you are clear that how you are living in relation to each area is how you ought to be living according to your personal values. You may need to first get clear about your values in each area. Hint: grab a pen and paper for this one. Finally, identify one step you could take in each of the four areas that would bring you closer, or more fully into, what is truly successful in these areas. Just as the investment banker believed that Miguel should live by the banker’s definition of success, so do we often live our lives by a completely different definition of success than we truly ought. A thoughtful check of your internal map and compass could start small changes that can take you to destinations as different as Wall Street is to a small fishing village in Mexico