The Farmer & The Fisherman
There’s a story that we’d like to share with you. It’s an old Chinese folktale that Vinh’s mother told him when he was a boy. It’s the story of the Farmer & the Fisherman.
Vinh can recite it from memory because as a child he made his mother repeat this story over and over again. At the time it was just a funny story about a silly farmer that amused him. Now we can see the deeper meaning…
The story goes like this:
Under a the bright light of a new, full moon each month the silly farmer goes down the river foreshore and starts digging and scrounging around the mud like a crazy man. Each month at the same time a local fisherman passes him by and wonders what on earth this farmer is up to.
Filled with curiosity one month the fisherman lands his boat near the farmer, who is still madly scratching way in the mud, and says “Hello farmer, I’ve been seeing you here in the same spot for the past three full moons and I wondered what you’re doing here.”
“I lost my gold coin.” the farmer replies.
The fisherman nods and smiles. “Now I understand” he says. “I’ll help you look, and together we can find your gold coin.”
So together they dig and scrape in the mud, getting quite dirty, but still come no closer to finding the gold coin.
After about an hour they’ve managed to cover the whole area… And again, they’ve found nothing.
“We’ve found nothing here” the fisherman says, quite exasperated. “You’ve worked this area twice before, and together we’ve just dug everywhere all over. Are you certain that this is where you dropped your gold coin?”
“Oh no, I dropped my coin way over there near the water” the farmer replies as he points to a big rock in the shadows about ten metres away from where they were both standing.
Now the fisherman is standing there covered in smelly mud having just wasted an hour searching in vain for the famers’ gold coin. So he’s naturally a little puzzled and upset. “Then why do you keep looking here month after month?”
“Well” says the farmer, “I like it here, it’s nice and bright under the full moon. Plus I’m comfortable with soil and mud, I’m a farmer. i understand dirt and mud. Over there could be dangerous, it’s dark, it’s near the water, and I can’t swim… I’m nervous near water… I’m not a fisherman after all!”
So you might now be thinking what does this story have to do with you in your creative practice?
Well, think about yourself in your business. Where are you looking? Are you looking in the same places repeatedly because it’s safe and comfortable?
No matter how hard he looked, the farmer was never going to find his precious gold coin. The same applies to you in your business too.
No matter how much money you invest, or how much time you invest, you are never going to attract your ideal customers to your business unless you are looking for them where they really are.
Yes, you can stay where it’s bright and safe, doing the things you know and are comfortable with – Stay in your comfort zone – but that’s not going to change your circumstances.
If you are not good with marketing your business to your ideal clients then get out of your comfort zone and learn how. Or get someone else who is good at marketing to help you.
Start by mapping out where you think your ideal customers may be, and then you can decide on some your strategies to better attract them.