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Adjust Your Sails In The Wake Of Challenges
Blog Feature

Adjust Your Sails In The Wake Of Challenges

“If you want to be happy, put your effort into controlling the sail, not the wind.” – Anonymous

While at the beautiful Jersey Shore I had the opportunity to observe people boating. One group was on a sail boat while others were on speed boats.

The speed boaters flew by me with the wind in their hair and a smile on their face having the time of their lives.

The sailors, who also appeared to be having a good time, were busy hoisting the sails and “coming about” (i.e. turning the sail in another direction) to catch the wind, so they too, could get to their destination. There was a lot of activity on the sail boat. It appeared that everyone had a job to do and was efficient at doing it. Energy was not spent on wasteful practices that did not support the process of sailing the boat.

Engaged in the process or along for a ride?

It occurred to me that the speed boaters simply wanted to get from point A to point B as fast as possible. They were more interested in the end result than what went into the process of getting there. The only person engaged in the task was the driver of the boat. The other people were simply there for the ride, not contributing anything to the process. In other words, they were disengaged.

The sailors, on the other hand, were all engaged in the process. The captain was giving instructions on what needed to be done and everyone participated. One person was in charge of the lines, another the sails, someone else was watching out for other vessels, and the captain was steering the boat. They worked together – as a team – for a common goal.

In business, as in life, you can only control what you do and how you react to the challenges presented to you.

Every business has sales, production, growth, or profitability goals that they want to achieve along with a strategy to support getting there. The challenge is that you cannot always control the outcome. There could be obstacles that stand in your way.

You could be the best sailor, along with a team, doing all of the right things but if the wind does not cooperate, no matter what you do, the boat will not move. Another process is needed, like turning the motor on, to have the desired outcome.

So, what adjustments will you make to your processes and procedures to get to where you want to go? How will you control the sail?

Share your thoughts below.

Zackarie Lemelle
Managing Partner, Leadership Engagement Services
Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)

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