Yesterday I told you about my Saturday rookie sailing excursion. We left off with me sitting, by myself, in the middle of Lake Oconee, a half mile from shore, on a sail boat. Oh yeah, and no wind.
A sail boat without wind is like a pool without water. No fun.
There are leadership lessons to be learned out on the waters. I can think of several things I discovered that I would like to share with you over the next few days.
I will give you three of them today.
1. Be willing to try something new.
Mark Twain once famously said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
I’m not sure Twain would have been impressed with my initial voyage, but he would have given me an “A” for giving it a shot.
Nothing is accomplished unless you are willing to TRY. Sailing reminded me that nothing is ever easy the first time.
Pick something new and give it a shot over the next month.
2. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Leaders are often overconfident, adrenaline junkies. There is a balance between being willing to try something new and acting as if you are an expert.
I have a friend who just built an airplane. He is a competent pilot. But he is putting in his time in the new plane before he takes anyone else up in it. The reason he is such a good pilot is because he follows the rules and he respects his limits.
5,000 feet is no place to take any chances.
Likewise, standing on a stage to speak without preparing is very revealing. And if you sign up for a marathon you better respect the distance.
The lesson? Don’t take on more than you can handle.
3. The best sailing is done with a crew.
Part of my struggle on Saturday came because I was not ready to handle the unknown. But part of it came because I was alone.
Sailing, like anything else, is easier done with a team. Individualism is overrated.
If you want to reach the summit in your field and enjoy the climb, link up with some great people and make the commitment to help each other.
Be willing to try something new, don’t bite off more than you can chew, and find yourself a good crew.
Remember these principles and you will be on your way.