When I was a teenager I spent a summer working as counselor at a Boy Scout Summer Camp. I taught the wilderness survival merit badge classes. When I didn’t come home for the weekend, there would be only a few us who stayed behind and we had the run of the camp. One of my favorite activities was to take the small one to two person yellow sail boats out on the lake. I loved catching a breeze and ripping through the water. I dreamed of owning sail boat.
While living in the Puget Sound area of Washington state, I would frequently see sail boats on the water and remember those summer days of small boat sailing and my dream of owning a sail boat. One day I received a call from a friend inviting my wife and I to go out sailing with him. His boss owned a large sailboat and offered to take him and a couple of his friends out on the water. We said yes and went out together to Gig Harbor to go sailing.
We motored out of the harbor and then raised the sails. We visited and admired the boat. Every so often the sails would be adjusted or we would tweak our direction to tack with the wind. The owner offered to let us drive and taught us how to adjust the sails. It was awesome.
The first thing the owner did was point up to the top of the sail. On the main mast was an arrow and a V-shaped window. He told us that as long as the arrow remained between the V, you would have wind in your sail. If the arrow left the V, you had to adjust your sails or the direction in which you were traveling to bring the two back in line. We had a great time and spent a lot of time looking up and making adjustments. By the end of the afternoon, we had become pretty good at.
I learned many lessons on the water that day, about sailing and about life. It is important to look up. The wind doesn’t care what you want. Making adjustments to the sails allows you to go where you want to go.
The winds we experience in our lives and our businesses vary and change from time to time. Sometimes they are gentle breezes and others strong winds. The wind seems to change direction just when you have all the slack taken out of the sail. Despite what the wind may be doing, we shouldn’t yell at the wind. It doesn’t listen or care. If instead of yelling at the wind, we adjust our sails – we can continue on our journey and enjoy it.
Stop blaming the winds in your life and adjust your sails. You can get to where you are going as long as you are flexible enough and paying attention to when you need to make adjustments.
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