When I first started my business, my brother Adam asked me about my goals. “Grow, grow, grow, I want the business to grow!” I said.
“Well, why is growth so important?” he asked. I thought, isn’t it obvious? But then, he shared a parable that got me thinking:
A Fisherman's Story
A banker was taking a much needed vacation in a small coastal village. One afternoon, while walking on the beach, he came across a fisherman docking his small boat, full of the day’s haul. The banker was impressed by the quality of the fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The fisherman replied, “a few hours.” The banker then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish. The fisherman replied that he had enough to support his family’s needs. The banker inquired “But what do you do with the rest of your time?” The fisherman replied, “I take a nap, play with my children, read, watch the sunset while sipping wine with my wife.”
The banker scoffed, “I have an Ivy League MBA, and I can help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the extra proceeds buy a bigger boat. Over time, with the increased catch from the bigger boat you could buy several boats and hire fishermen to work for you. Eventually you would have a whole fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to the people in your village, you could own your own cannery and grow an enterprise.”
The fisherman asked, “How long will this all take?” To which the banker replied, “15-20 years. It will take some sacrifice… late nights, borrowed money, risk along the way.”
“But what then?” asked the fisherman? The banker laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would sell your company and become very rich. You would make millions.”
“Millions? Then what?”
“Why then you could retire. You could fish for a few hours, take a nap, play with your children and grandchildren, read, watch the sunset while sipping wine with your wife”, replied the banker.
“But aren’t I doing that now?”
A smart fisherman indeed. He was happy with his life...
As for me, well, I’m grateful that my business has grown - but over time I’ve come to realize that growth was not the number one goal for starting my own business. It was all about helping people.
I love to see the stress leave people’s faces as we organize their financial lives. I want to help people - as many as I can, either directly or through others as our team grows.
So, I continue with late nights and work on the weekends. But it doesn’t seem like work, I truly enjoy it. I’m blessed, also, by the support of my family, friends, clients and colleagues...
Shari Greco Reiches
Shari co-founded Rappaport Reiches Capital Management with one goal - to maximize the return on life for her clients. Please connect with Shari below. She loves to talk about investing, financial planning, and Barry Manilow.
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