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Setting Sail in Business

May 10, 2013

 

 

Years ago, I was fortunate enough to learn how to sail at a Boy Scout Summer Camp. I loved it and have been amazed at how powerful even a gentle breeze can be with a properly set sail. After learning the fundamental techniques of harnessing the winds that came across our lake; my sailing partner and I could go anywhere we wanted regardless of what direction the wind was blowing. I never imagined these lessons would impact me in the business world as much as they did.

Sail or Anchor

 

A couple years ago, I wrote this line “your self-belief can either be an anchor to weigh you down, or a sail to harness the wind” but didn’t completely understand its value until a recent trip to San Diego gave me an entire morning to watch this and other boats in the bay. I reflected on my own sailing lessons as well as business lessons and made the connection.

When I first set out on my career, I positioned myself as a quality vendor with honesty and respect, dropped anchor, and waited for the perfect clients to come to me. It didn’t happen. Every time a business proposal was turned down; I got rejected. Thus began adding more weight to my powerful anchor that kept me safely tethered. I could have likely stayed there for a long time, riding out the mild weather far enough to have a little fun. But a boat like this was not designed just for show. It must perform.

I had no idea how to perform to my abilities until I happened on a training course with a peculiar assignment. List 100 SUCCESSES. Spend no more than 15 minutes each day to simply list the successes you have accomplished until you reach 100 or more. Learned to walk… talk… ride a bike… foreign language… sail… etc. I learned to sail!

And here I was, metaphorically in a brilliant boat, NOT SAILING. I remembered how scary it was the first few times I capsized; and how terrified I was in open water; but I got over them and grew stronger throughout that summer. This and the other 99+ successes helped me focus on my skills and achievements rather than my setbacks.

I have since pulled up my anchor, and continually refine the trim of my sails to ride the silent power of my accomplishments. I recommend you start with the same exercise and realize how far you can go thanks to your own sails!

Please share some of your list here.

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