Brad and I just finished a week of sailing in the British Virgin Islands…well not exactly…the first 4 days of that was spent at dock waiting for Hurricane Irene to move north. So I had a lot of time to contemplate while we waited. I started thinking that sailing is a lot like life.
1. Expect the unexpected. We planned to sail out of dock last Saturday morning. As it turned out, we were stuck at dock until Tuesday afternoon. First the storm came and went and then Tuesday morning we spent working (now that the storm was gone and wi-fi was available again). (when you own a business, you have to work even on vacation!)
2. Progress never takes place as quickly as planned. In general, you never sail directly from point A to point B. You have to rely on the wind, which means you don’t sail in a straight line (against the wind) but in a zig zag (to take advantage of the wind in the sails). This takes time and a plan. You have to know where you want to end up and you have to allow the right amount of time you need to arrive before the sun sets.
3. The wind is your friend. Wind (or, in life, obstacles or adversity) is a necessary force to get where you’re going. Use it to your best advantage. Those life obstacles (as much as they can slow us down) can and probably do have a purpose…if for nothing else then character development (who couldn’t use a bit of that?!).
4. The destination is not always the main focus. Enjoy the ride! Part of the idea of sailing is the actual sailing…look around at the crystal blue water, enjoy the golden sunshine, and love the time with the friends or family that are with you on the journey! You can’t focus on the ‘getting there’ so much that you miss everything in between.
In the end, despite the storm, we had a wonderful time together. We even got to explore some places we hadn’t before. Brad convinced me to sail out to Anegada, the northernmost of the British Virgin Islands. I say convinced because it was a bit out of my comfort zone as it is about a 15 mile sail. The island is flat and low (formed from coral and limestone) so you can’t even see the island until you are within about 5 miles of it! I am so glad he convinced me though…it was beautiful, quiet, remote, the locals were delightful…and much to our surprise and delight, Richard Branson and his entourage (which included Kate Winslet) had the same idea that day! You never know what to expect, do you??