Success! What does that word mean? I’ve heard it said that the only time you’ll find ‘success” before “work” is in the dictionary. While that certainly rings true, let me suggest an alternate universe idea of the word success. To do this I’d like to share a story from the chapter I’ve written for the book I’ve co-authored entitled, “Victory.”

A very prominent Wall Street Investment banker has taken a little time to retreat to a sanctuary from all his international travel and private equity transactions. On this day, he is enjoying a secluded ribbon of sand beach down in a verdant area of Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula. As he raises his eyes up onto the beautiful turquoise and azure waters he can’t help but notice a wooden canoe with outriggers bobbing out in the ocean, three Mexican men aboard working hard to harvest fish. At first, it is just an innocuous glance, but eventually he finds himself entranced as he watches their system of casting and running in a figure eight pattern a series of nets in unison to pull the fish together and harvest an abundant amount. It is something truly amazing to watch. Later, when he sees them come in to the dock, he decides he has to go over and have a conversation with them, with the spring in his step for a potential new opportunity.

He reaches them and begins a friendly conversation by asking, “What do you plan on doing with the fish that you’ve caught, and why did you come in so early? At the rate you were going you probably could have caught fish all day.”

“Oh, senor, we most certainly could have,” they answered, “but we only want to catch enough fish in our nets to feed our families. Then we can take our mid afternoon siesta, enjoy a lovely fish dinner and fine wine with our friends and family and play some music with our amigos. That’s really our joy in life.”

The investment banker, looking perplexed inquired, “Why wouldn’t you continue to fish the rest of the hot afternoon and sell your fish to the fisheries? Eventually you could become profitable enough to open your own cannery, then look at creating joint ventures for international distribution lines and some of the unique fish to these waters could be shipped internationally.”

The Mexicans look at each other, contemplating, and then ask, “Then what would we do?”

The investment banker answers, “Then you basically become so successful that some of the big food companies would want to buy you out or you take your company public through an IPO, and once you did that, you’d be multimillionaires.”

The Mexicans then ask again, “Then what would we do?”

“Then you could return to the Yucatan, retire, enjoy fish with your family and friends, drink fine wine, and play music with your amigos.”

“AHA and ouch!!”

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