The open ocean

One of my favourite books is James Cracknell and Ben Fogle’s “The Crossing“.  It tells the story of the authors’ attempt at the Atlantic Rowing Race in which, inexperienced and unprepared, they rowed almost 3,000 miles from the Canary Isles to the West Indies.  It’s incredible and inspiring stuff.

The overwhelming feelings I took from the book though, were the solitude and fear of being all alone, in the middle of a huge ocean in some pretty terrifying conditions.  Transatlantic rowing is definitely not an adventure for the feint-hearted.

In a way, life and work can feel like that.  When you step out of your comfort-zone and into something new and unexplored, maybe to start a business or head in a new career direction, there’s a feeling of exposure.  Of having left the safe harbour of your current place and being on your own in a vast and dangerous ocean.  The truth is though, unless we are willing to move on from the places which have served us well, to dare, to take risks, we won’t grow.

Spoiler alert:  James Cracknell and Ben Fogle made it to the West Indies.  They finished the race and were better friends, better organised adventurers and better seaman as a result.  It wasn’t however, the safe arrival in a new port that made them so, but the perils of the journey itself.  The difficulty of the journey and the overcoming of physical and mental barriers are what changed them and it’s the same for us.

The person you are in five years time will be who they are because of the adversity you’ve overcome.  You’ll have changed shape, become (in a sense) bigger, better and will have developed a new attitude to dealing with difficult times.

The new, safe harbours that you find along the way will give you time to rest, to think, to plan and rebuild for the future.  But eventually, it’ll be time to set sail once again.

As the saying goes:

“Calm seas to not make great sailors”

It’s as true in our everyday as it is in the nautical world.  So how might you prepare to set sail from the harbour you are in?

And what adventures and growth await you on the open ocean?



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