Top Menu

Treasure Hunting


One of my oft-told stories is of treasure hunter Mel Fisher, and his search for the Spanish galleon ship, Nuestra Senora de Atocha, sunk in 1622 off the Florida Keys.  Hidden within his tale may be the answer to your question, “How do I know when to quit my business?”

I met Mel at a time when I was considering exit options for my first business, Designs & Details. I’d had a 12-year run of fun, but also had new aspirations not being met by my wedding business.

Mel told me that for 16 years he dove daily in search of the lost treasure of the Atocha.  He found nothing for weeks, then months; at times he’d only spot a shard of identifiable china to tell him he was on the right course.  So I asked him: “How did you know to keep looking for the ship?”

He first explained that he would have spent every day diving for treasure even if he never found the Atocha; he loved being under water that much.  He also said that each day he found nothing, he told himself, “Now I know where the treasure isn’t” to lead him closer to where it might be.

Would you continue your work even if you never struck gold?  If so, let the knowledge of where the treasure isn’t inspire you to find where it is.  Then, enjoy the daily dive.

SPOILER ALERT: Mel did find his treasure – a reported $450 million Atocha Motherlode of artifacts, gold, and coins for diving into work he loved every day. You can read the full story here.

, , ,

One Response to Treasure Hunting

  1. Marna Courson Gasperino July 16, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    I’m so glad you got to know Mel. A genuinely sweet human being. A side note: I interviewed Mel when I was with the Associated Press. He afterwards offered me a job. I was SOOO tempted. Just for the sheer fun of working to achieve the impossible. And the pure romance of it. But Syd and I had just met and had decided to marry, and that was coming up QUICKLY. I asked Mel if he could take us both, and he could only handle one of us at the time as he was working on investors’ money at that stage, so I declined. Had I gone with Mel, I would have – within a couple of short years – become positioned to be independently wealthy. Instead, I became wealthy with the love of a wonderful man and ultimately a great daughter. Timing is everything. Had Mel and I met just a couple of weeks earlier, I wouldn’t have known Syd. Ah, the amazing twists of fate that hang on such slender threads.

Leave a Reply