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  • Writer's pictureSonja Kirschner

Red Noses

April 7, 2019

Returning from a weekend FULL of inspiration through coaching, plus last week’s vibe of a wonderful late-season skiing vacation in Park City, UT is still in my heart.

We love the combination of the mountains, the skiing facilities and the cute little town with all its beautiful and unique restaurants and cafés. One night - after a sunny day on the slopes - during dinner I realized that almost everyone inside the restaurant had a beaming red nose - guests and staff alike. It was - as most of Park City’s places - a quite pricey place (nothing shocks you anymore when you’re used to New York prices!) but there was one thing everyone had in common: a red nose! For some, us included, it was only a temporary manifestation of following their passion for skiing or snowboarding. But for many others we talked to during this vacation, it was a lasting and deliberately chosen thing with all implications. Really? … you might wonder. Would you take a job that pays less, is less high up in the hierarchy and less well-regarded than your current one but that entitles you to be high up on the mountains during the day - red nose included? Well, we talked to quite a few people there: waiters, chefs, pilots, techies - all of them had chosen this place, life and the accommodating jobs to be able to live their passion every single day. And guess what, all of them looked tremendously happy and healthy. Recently I came across this little story by Heinrich Böll, a German author awarded with the Nobel Prize of Literature in the 70ies – it describes the same idea, I would say: An American businessman was standing 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 yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish. “How long did it take you to catch them?” The American asked. “Only a little while.” The Mexican replied. “Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” The American then asked. “I have enough to support my family’s immediate needs.” The Mexican said. “But,” The American then asked, “What do you do with the rest of your time?” The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a 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 American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds you could buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, and eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.” “Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the consumers, eventually opening your own can factory. 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 senor, how long will this all take?” To which the American replied, “15-20 years.” “But what then, senor?” 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, senor? Then what?” The American said slowly, “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 …” For the next time a big decision is up, I promised myself one little thing: check for the red nose factor! Hope you do to! And of course, wear sunscreen! Yours, Sonja

The author, Sonja Kirschner, is 40 years old, originally from Mannheim, Germany which she left over 5 years ago to work and live in the New York metropolitan area. She has worked in different Human Resources roles for 15 years, all of them focusing on the development of people. Currently, she is in the process of getting her coaching certification. She has a master’s degree in Psychology and loves supporting people to reach their life goals. Please leave a comment or send a PM to connect.

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