Love, Sister

One year ago,I was given a boat for my birthday by my sister. So much for gift cards! Notice the name of the boat?

 It is a sweet 18-foot power boat that will be moored right in front of my home for the summer season. In the ocean…with daily tides…and Nor’easter storms…and hidden rocks that reveal themselves when the tides go out. What might be a fun experience for experienced boaters feels terrifying to me. I am out of my comfort zone entirely. And determined to make it work!

So this is what I make up:
  • New opportunities may require learning new skills. Lots of them.
  • Sometimes fun is not easy.
  • Owning a boat requires relying upon others with expertise. Doesn’t most anything require leaning into others?
  • Boating has its own language and culture. Parts of the vessel, laws and courtesies of the sea, deep history. Foreign languages can be learned and cultures can be adopted.
  • There are GPS devices, sonar devices, maps, and the power of observation available to me to avoid rocks in the way. My fear of the rocks may be bigger than the rocks themselves or my ability to navigate around them.
  • Storms come and go. Like just yesterday.A big wind event with hours of drenching rain. And today, sun! Anchor and cover the boat securely. Automated bilge pump is in place. Be patient. Be prepared.
  • This boat has a singular purpose–having fun. Sweet return on the investment.
  • What I am afraid of now, will be familiarity later. Fear will give way to caution and then awareness.

No doubt, having a boat can be a powerful metaphor for life, relationships, work, family, teams, and organizations. Each day I look out at the boat I am reminded of this fear I have and what it takes to feel more comfortable, to be in a relationship with it (the “it” in this case is the fear, not the boat). Being in a relationship with my fear and using my fear as a place to begin growing and learning is not easy and humbling. It’s a big goal–having fun on the water!–that keeps me in the game.

The boat is my teacher today. What teaches you something of value in your world? Find a metaphor and play with it!


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Gary M. Groth, MS, PCC, CPCC

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