This past spring I decide to buy a boat. I had never owned a boat before and literally knew very little about how to operate one. I didn’t know the bow from the stern and the hundreds of other things that a boat owner needs to know. I did however have a goal – to spend more time with my family. After talking to many other boat owners, I felt that boating offered a great way to spend time while enjoying the outdoors. I began my research and ended up purchasing a great boat for a family that offers the ability to stay overnight (camping in the water). My kids were all thrilled, my wife was happy – I was good to go.
The day came to take the boat out for the first time. The dealer who sold me the vessel showed me all the ins and outs. He started up the engine and showed me how to maneuver the vessel out of the slip. He turned the wheel to the left then headed down the long alleyway. I was petrified. I’m thinking to myself, what did I do? This doesn’t seem fun to me. How am I going to do this myself? The gentleman took another left turn then a right and slowly increased the speed. Soon we were out on the bay. He showed me how to get the boat on plane. It was early April so very few boats were out this early in the season. On a scale of 1-10 my nervousness was probably a 9.
We tooled around the bay for about a half hour. It was now my turn to take the wheel. Did I mention I was extremely nervous? I was totally tense. This was literally my first time piloting a vessel. I kept thinking that, if I was this nervous all season….it was going to be a long season. I practiced docking on the end of one of the nearby marinas. No one was around. I began to loosen up a bit. Gain confidence. Then it was time to head back to the slip. Docking a boat in a slip with other boats on either side for the first time is nerve-racking to say the least. My instructor guided me through the process. I did it. No one died. The boat didn’t sink.
I continued to be nervous every time I went out this season, but every time without fail, I accomplished my goal. My family spent time together and we made memories. The kids enjoyed themselves jumping off the stern and swimming in the ocean at Potter Cove. Beautiful afternoons, sun shining reading a book on the bow, small wistful clouds in the sky.
I say all this because there is a principle here. Sometimes, things are really really scary, but there is great joy, even peace on the other side. Taking risks and trying something new. Any boat owner will tell you that owning a boat is not a wise financial decision, but for me it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Successful people understand the relationship between risk and reward – and the reward is oftentimes not money. It’s the joy of new experiences.
How can this apply to your business? There are times when you have to do something that seems extremely scary. I may be completely out of your comfort zone, but there are great things on the other side.