Hard a lee.
On the port side.
Pull in the main sheet.
Grab that jib line.
Sailors throw these terms around in rapid fire when they are navigating the open waters. As the wind shifts slightly, the sailor must adjust. As the waves push the boat, a slight touch on the tiller keeps the boat on course. It’s an action packed ride for a captain of any sized sailboat.
I recently took a friend out sailing from Santa Barbara harbor. The sea lions were on their familiar red buoy and kayaks, paddle boarders, and other sailboats were all around us. We had to zip back and forth to avoid the boat traffic until we got into the open waters.
As we exited the harbor we could see the Channel Islands to the east and the Los Padres National Forest Mountains to the west. It was spectacular. My courageous friend had never sailed before and here she was on her maiden voyage on the Pacific. As I passed the tiller to her for the first time she did what most first time sailors do, she grabbed the tiller and made a big adjustment. To her shock, the sails flopped, we lost momentum and things just didn’t go well. As we turned back, she pulled hard on the sail and wondered why the boat had slowed down so much. She learned how a lighter touch on the tiller or sails makes a big difference when you are sailing.
As we landed back at the dock my friend shared that she really had never thought sailing was so active. She had no idea how much adjusting you had to do to keep the boat on course.
Our professional lives are very similar to sailing. We have to keep making very slight adjustments to keep us moving towards our goals. Sometimes we need to go on a totally new course, but for the most part it’s the fine-tuning of our strengths that makes the biggest difference.
What fine-tuning would make a big difference in your career? Is it a new skill that would make you more efficient? Is it a mentor to bounce ideas with? Is it taking a lunch walk to recharge for the afternoon? Is it setting boundaries on when and where you will use your technology? Is it connecting with an inspiring leader? Is it just taking time to reflect? Or is it heading home early one day this week to be with a loved one?
Set a fine-tuning goal for yourself this week. Post it here and let us know what happens. Don’t forget, a light touch on the tiller or a slight pull in on the sails is all you need to stay on course.
Tell me about your transition. I’d like to learn more about your story. What tools and strategies have helped you navigate through your career transition? Please contact me.