Archive for January, 2010

Love this story!

Posted by Robin Sparks on January 13th, 2010 | Email this to friend

I first heard this story over 15 years ago, and it still gets me every time. Enjoy

-Author unknown.

A vacationing American businessman standing on the pier of a quaint coastal fishing village in southern Mexico watched as a small boat with just one young Mexican fisherman pulled into the dock. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. Enjoying the warmth of the early afternoon sun, the American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.

“How long did it take you to catch them?” the American casually asked.

“Oh, a few hours,” the Mexican fisherman replied.

“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” the American businessman then asked.

The Mexican warmly replied, “With this I have more than enough to support my family’s needs.”

The businessman then became serious, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

Responding with a smile, the Mexican fisherman answered, “I sleep late, play with my children, watch ballgames, and take siesta with my wife. Sometimes in the evenings I take a stroll into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, sing a few songs…”

The American businessman impatiently interrupted, “Look, I have an MBA from Harvard, and I can help you to be more profitable. You can start by fishing several hours longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra money, you can buy a bigger boat. With the additional income that larger boat will bring, before long you can buy a second boat, then a third one, and so on, until you have an entire fleet of fishing boats.”

Proud of his own sharp thinking, he excitedly elaborated a grand scheme which could bring even bigger profits, “Then, instead of selling your catch to a middleman you’ll be able to sell your fish directly to the processor, or even open your own cannery. Eventually, you could control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this tiny coastal village and move to Mexico City, or possibly even Los Angeles or New York City, where you could even further expand your enterprise.”

Having never thought of such things, the Mexican fisherman asked, “But how long will all this take?”

After a rapid mental calculation, the Harvard MBA pronounced, “Probably about 15-20 years, maybe less if you work really hard.”

“And then what, señor?” asked the fisherman.

“Why, that’s the best part!” answered the businessman with a laugh. “When the time is right, you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.”

“Millions? Really? What would I do with it all?” asked the young fisherman in disbelief.

The businessman boasted, “Then you could happily retire with all the money you’ve made. You could move to a quaint coastal fishing village where you could sleep late, play with your grandchildren, watch ballgames, and take siesta with your wife. You could stroll to the village in the evenings where you could play the guitar and sing with your friends all you want.”

Well, folks, that’s exactly the point of the book I am writing about my search for a new home, a new country, a new way of being. There IS a different way to do your life and stepping off the hamster wheel is one them.

Sit quietly and figure out what you REALLY REALLY want. That’s the first most important step to achieving the life of your dreams.

Stay tuned…I’ll be posting excerpts from the book I am writing in this column.

Much love and clarity to you all.

Robin meditating, strolling through rice paddies, taking siestas, meeting with friends, and ok… writing my ass off in Bali. (and trying to figure out how to make even that flow smoothly. Suggestions anyone?)

Robin Limm, Medicine Woman and Midwife

Robin Limm, Medicine Woman and Midwife teaching us about natural medicine at the Permaculture Center in Ubud, Bali

My “Stop Doing” New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by Robin Sparks on January 9th, 2010 | Email this to friend

I woke up this morning before sunrise, heart pounding, my breathing rapid and shallow, and stress like poison spreading down my back and into my shoulders. I leapt out of bed – so much to do! Meditate, journal, write Brazil chapter of book, plan October writing workshop, shop for food at the organic market, hang out with friends, call son, run my accommodations business (bookings, call assistant, update advertisements, etc.), write blog, update website, manage my finances…

I ran around doing a little of this, a little of that, my mind a misfiring mishmash of Should Do’s and Which One First?

I sat on the edge of a chair to hurriedly scarf down a bowl of oatmeal while simultaneously reading emails before I would run off to the organic market, and that’s when I read this and stopped.

“Best New Year’s Resolution? A ‘Stop Doing’ List”
by Jim Collins

…It is the discipline to discard what does not fit — to cut out what might have already cost days or even years of effort — that distinguishes the truly exceptional artist and marks the ideal piece of work, be it a symphony, a novel, a painting, a company or, most important of all, a life.

This would apply to the book, I think to myself, that I am writing about my search for a country – the Leaning Towers of Pisa stacks of notes which follow me around the world, because there is just SO much information, so many stories…What can be cut out?

What is left, will be the story.

“…Suppose you woke up tomorrow,” Collins says, “and received two phone calls. The first phone call tells you that you have inherited $20 million, no strings attached. The second tells you that you have an incurable and terminal disease, and you have no more than 10 years to live. What would you do differently, and, in particular, what would you stop doing?

He suggests drawing three circles that encapsulate the following qualifiers.

1) What are you deeply passionate about?
2) What are you are genetically encoded for — what activities do you feel just “made to do”?

3) What makes economic sense — what can you make a living at?

Assess which of your activities fall within these circles. Which overlap. Drop all activities that fall outside the circles and emphasize those activities which overlap all 3 circles.

Wait, you mean I can pare down my To Do list instead of adding to it?

Almost immediately I begin to relax.

What would I do differently if I got those two phone calls?

For starters, I’d start breathing again. I would put on the brakes and flip off the ignition while I reassess.

What am I passionate about?
Travel, story telling, connecting people across cultures, learning, friends, community, family, love, spiritual evolution.

What am I genetically encoded for ?— what activities do I feel just “made to do”?
See above.

What can I make a living at?
Now there’s a tricky one. So far the accommodations business and the workshop business support me financially. But to gain credibility and maintain and grow both, I need to write a book. And so the book moves back up to the top of my To Do list.

What will I cut out in 2010?
1. Daily facebook jabberwocky.
2. Hanging out with people who do not advance my growth and love factor.
3. Doing administrative stuff which I hate and am bad at. Hire it out.Things like website maintenance, promotion, editing, home maintenance, finances, cooking and cleaning, workshop promotion and planning, travel planning, bill paying.
4. The accommodations business in Turkey…. Do I have the courage to cut out the one thing that is currently putting money in my bank account? The thing that gobble, gobble, gobbles up so much time?

What are the things that I am passionate about, that I feel I was put here to do, and that will earn a living?

Whadaya know? My list shrinks from pages and pages of scrawlings to these 4:
1. Telling stories – in books, articles, videos and live.
2. Facilitating writing workshops around the world.
3. Time with family and friends and time in my life and space in my heart for a lover. (True, time with family, friends and the lover piece are not money makers, but… wait a minute…If I just found out I inherited 20 million, isn’t the “what makes economic sense?” question irrelevant?)
4. Continue maintaining my health and fitness with daily movement, yoga alternated with weight lifting and dance. With healthy food and more sleep and daily meditation. Because without my health nothing else is possible.

What would your list of To Do’s look like if you received those 2 phone calls?