Every once in while I have an epiphany or a new way to see my world
Usually it’s sparked by an inner niggle that grows, a book that makes me reflect on life differently than before, a comment that someone makes or an experience that knocks me (not necessarily for the worse).
A few days ago I received an email from a reader that commented kindly about my website. He ended the email with the following bizarre, but highly interesting comment:
“There was one thing though that I noticed throughout that it was always ‘my’ daughter as opposed to ‘our’ daughter.”
After I read his comment, my heart and stomach dropped and I felt emptiness in my body
There was an immediate pang of shock followed by warmth that spread across me. Soon after, I said to myself, ‘wow – what a poignant message.’
I’m definitely a firm believer that when the student is ready, the teacher appears.
I’ve messed up, failed over and over and have failed some more so I’ve had my fair share of teachers. If you’re open to learning there’s always someone or something out there to show you another way.
Interestingly, before receiving the email comment mentioned above, I’ve been analyzing my approach to life and more specifically, my approach to problem solving. Hubby and I have had some minor bust-ups and it’s usually when we have to sort out one issue or another.
Living on a boat = ongoing problems indefinitely
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know that we’ve had our engines overhauled, rigging renewed, new sails, new pumps and on and on…It would take me at least three pages of paper to list all the issues we’ve come across and have eventually solved.
Looking back over all our problems (and my reaction to them), I’ve been mostly positive and thought – ‘It’s no big deal, we’ll get it fixed.’ HOWEVER, growing up I had a chip on my shoulder and lived by the motto, ‘if you want something done well, you need to do it yourself.’ I also felt very alone and as if the responsibly for the world was on my shoulders.
Therefore, when a problem occurred, I’d respond in one of two ways:
1. Hubby – that’s your department, you sort it out
2. Hubby – back off, I’ll do this.
For example, while our engines were being ripped apart for 3 weeks, hubby, laid in the bilges assisting and constantly learning from the engineers.
Even though I love engines and tinkering with them I felt as if it was his ‘duty’ to understand the engines and I was relegated to looking after our daughter (yes – I used ‘our’ instead of ‘my’ and it felt weird).
Simon was the man so he could have fun and I’ll be the parent. It was black and white in my mind – Simon will do the engines, I’ll cover Sienna. I didn’t see any other alternative. That’s my ‘you sort it out,’ reaction.
Regarding my ‘back off’ reaction, let me tell you about our anchoring blow out
Simon went to the front of the boat and started messing with the anchor while I was down below. We entered a bay, it was dead calm and he wanted to anchor so to let me carry on with what I was doing.
Big mistake – messing with my anchor!
Yes – it’s MY anchor…(similar to MY daughter).
Again, it’s black and white – doing the anchor is my job. I’ve done it hundreds of times. I know how I want it done. I can ensure it’s dug in…I will ensure the correct scope is used (you let out 3x to 5x the depth in length so if you’re in 10 meters, you’d let out 30 to 50 meters – closer to 50 if it’s blowing).
I could list several other examples but I’m sure you get the picture
Ironically, if I was to be interviewed for a job, I’d list team building or teamwork as one of my assets. In fact, I think I’m rated high on teamwork skills on LinkedIn.
Now that I’ve had an epiphany I’ve realized that I don’t even understand the concept of teamwork!
Looking even further back to when I owned and managed a company with my business partner, Charles, I operated under the same principles. Charles and I would meet and chat about the business, decide what we wanted to do and then we’d go in our different directions and do it.
We actually never worked as a team on much of anything
By having the belief that ‘I have to do everything myself’ I’ve seriously created an environment that hasn’t been very nice. I had to deal with MY problems, MY daughter, MY life…Thankfully I have qualities that must make up for this massive short falling because my husband smiles at me and say’s ‘I love you,’ even when I’m ranting about things being MY responsibility.
Very recently, hubby and I have been working together on a few things
Our AIS wasn’t working (a system that allows us to see boats in the area on our navigational charts) so we both worked together to make sure all the wiring was attached correctly. It felt weird to do something together…but weird in a good way.
We also discovered a strange contraption on our raw water (sea water) inlet to our heads (toilets). Together we opened it up to discover the most disgusting smell in the world! After searching the Net we found out that we have a sanitation system that pretreats the water before it enters the bowl.
We’ve been sailing around for 15 months and didn’t know we could make our toilet water smell good!
Again, it was weird to work together but I liked it.
And just yesterday, hubby and I worked together to reseat our mast which is a MASSIVE project. We had to remove the rubber compound around our mast, leaving a huge hole from the deck to the inside saloon. We then had to clean the mast (scrape all the compound off the mast with a flathead screwdriver), make a dam for the new compound, mix the compound and pour it in. The project took all day and it was highly stressful.
It’s not everyday that you mess with your mast
Our mast reseating project has been our biggest success to date. I’m pleased to announce that the result was perfect 🙂
So…what am I getting at here?!
Selling up and sailing away has improved the quality of our lives in so many ways
No, we don’t have the big house, the fancy car or loads of possessions but what we do have is the world at our fingertips, time to reflect and situations (like the one described above) that enable us to grow.
We’re not stuck in a routine where everything is the same so we’re not operating on autopilot.
Since we’re forced out of our comfort zones (having to solve various problems) it’s easier to analyze our lives and to reflect on what’s good and what’s not so good (my lack of understanding on teamwork).
Here I was thinking that I was perfect only to discover I have a teamwork impairment. Hehehehehe.
Up until now, everything in my life was MINE. And don’t get me wrong – I’m not selfish at all. I’m just a bit of a loner. I do things my way or you can hit the highway…YOU CAN’T HAVE THAT KIND OF ATTITUDE ON A BOAT!
So in an effort to ensure OUR daughter learns about teamwork AND to allow me to share responsibility, work together with my husband and survive this around the world sailing adventure, I’m going to have to change my belief!
That’s the cool think about beliefs – if a particular belief isn’t working for you, you can choose to swap it for something better
I’m going to swap, ‘If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself,’ to ‘Two heads are better than one,’ ‘Hubby and I are a great team,’ and ‘Our family works as a great team!’
My point is this – going on this around the world adventure is causing me to grow and learn in ways I could have never predicted. I speculated about how we’d learn about sailing, new cultures, history and meet new friends but I didn’t consider the person I’d have to change into so to make this trip a success.
And as a side note…Life is so interesting – people change us all the time and they probably never know about it.
So – a big thank you goes out to Christopher, the kind man who sent the poignant message at the perfect time! No longer will Sienna be my daughter, she’ll be OUR daughter. Both hubby and I need to work as a team to raise her and I now, more than ever, know what that means.
That concludes my recent lessons learned while sailing around the world 🙂