The Importance Of Knowing Why You’re In The Boat


Ship run aground

Whether at work or home, there are highs and lows.   And you’re not getting special treatment, that’s how it is for everyone.  And it’s a powerful fundamental, so don’t try to control it, ride it.

When the sailing is smooth, at some point it won’t be – the winds change, that’s what they do.  And when you’re suddenly buffeted from a new direction, you take action. But what action? More sail or less? Port or starboard? Heave the anchor or abandon ship? It depends.

Your actions depend on your why.  Regardless of wind or tide, your why points where it points and guides your actions. Much like magnetic north doesn’t move if you spin your compass, your long term why knows where it points.  If the storm on the horizon is dead ahead, you go around it.  But it’s a balance – deviate to skirt the storm, but do it with your long term destination in mind.  If you know your long term why, the best course heading is clear.

Often you set sail without realizing you don’t have your why battened down and stowed. When you sail where you sailed last time, you know the landmarks and use them to navigate. You can unknowingly leave your why at the pier and still get to your destination. But when you’re blown out to sea and can no longer see the landmarks, your moral compass, your long term why, is the only way to tack and jibe toward your destination.

Before you set sail, it’s best to know why you’re in the boat.

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One Response to “The Importance Of Knowing Why You’re In The Boat”

  • Dave Enlow:

    Great article Mike. One of my favorite exercises is to ask team members after the introductions “Why are you here?”. The first time they hear it, it can seem a little harsh, but it’s usefull to listen to their responses and sometimes coach them into understanding not only why they are here, but understand their motivation, their opportunity to contribute and finally their destination or goal. This can be a critical part of asking the “5 Whys”. So many of us are on a journey we don’t understand, didn’t plan on and really don’t know where we are going. We are treading water and not sure why.

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Mike Shipulski Mike Shipulski
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