CorporateCoach eNewsletter

Issue No. 65, 28th June 2004


  1. Editorial: Do less
  2. Coaching story: The Mexican fisherman

1.     Editorial: Do less

Richard Winfield - editor and principal consultantI have been listening to the CDs that I bought from CoachVille when I was in Orlando. They comprise a two day presentation by Thomas Leonard and Dave Buck on the 15 clarifiers, proficiencies, deliverables, frameworks and style points that make up the CoachVille system.

One incident is poignant. Thomas offered himself for some coaching as a demonstration. He explained his situation. On the next day, the end of the workshop, CoachVille would be one year old. He had been working very hard for that year, and for the two years before the launch. He had promised himself a holiday and had bought a new black four wheel drive truck to go camping for five weeks.

However, he had committed himself to preparing various materials in the summer and was overwhelmed with his commitments. On previous occasions he had been so busy clearing his desk before a vacation that he had worn himself out and not been able to go away at all.

His statement was for a role play - but appeared to be real. Within a year he was dead from a massive heart attack!

An illuminating and prescient role play.

I once listened to a tape-set about stress. The speaker explained that he had been asked to give a keynote speech about stress. He had spoken for 44 minutes on various topics and the delegates were wondering when he would get to the point. In the 45th minute he said "To avoid stress - do less." and sat down.

There are many causes of stress, and over work is one of them; and many western countries are experiencing a growing culture of hard work and long hours.

One solution is to do less, and others are to be able to pace activity and to learn to unwind. Meditation can help.

I had an experience recently. I love what I do and enjoy social activities through my work. But over the last three months I have been over-committed. With two international conferences and three ongoing courses, I had not expected to obtain lots of work in April and May (in my budgeting I count April as half a month because of Easter). But this year almost every spare day was booked by clients - very nice, of course! Unfortunately courses and conferences tend to include weekends, leading to 12 days before a weekend break. In addition, I had a busy programme of evening networking events.

I noticed that I was getting tired. Eventually I was able to get home at a reasonable time on a Monday evening and mow the lawn after eating. On the Wednesday I was due to go to a public speaking club. However, I decided that even though it would be a pleasant social activity it would be more sensible to go home. This time after my meal I was able to spend half an hour weeding my salads. I felt so much better; it was a learning event.

For me, half an hour pottering in the garden is a life saver and is better relaxation than a whole evening at the theatre or a concert. What is yours? Do you know?

Do you have a strategy in response to signs of stress or overwork? It could save your life.


2.    Coaching story: The Mexican fisherman

Here is a story from my archive that seems apposite to life balance.

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 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

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate

The American then asked, "but what do you do with the rest of your

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."

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, how long will this all take?"

To which the American replied, "15-20 years."

"But what then?"

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 and become very rich. You would make millions."

"Millions.. 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."


Here are some dates when I shall be travelling to meet subscribers and potential business partners. If you would like to meet me, please contact me.

  • 22-28 July, Dubai, UAE
  • 29-31 July, Mumbai, India
  • 2-4 August, Singapore
  • 6-10 August, Melbourne, Australia
  • 19-22 Sydney, Australia

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