Recently, my partner completed a well-known yacht race; the Sydney to Hobart. It was a great achievement for him and if you are a keen sailor it’s definitely one for the bucket list, which requires mental strength. Personally, I could not think of anything worse than sharing a bathroom with ten others on the high seas and feeling sick every moment of the five night adventure (not to mention shivering to the point where jumping into the sea may seem a justifiable option). However, as the crew sailed closer to the finish line, I found myself overwhelmed with excitement for them. The feeling of pride when they finally arrived into Constitution Bay was overwhelming; the atmosphere steeped in seaman comradery and excitement.
Being part of the celebrations in the hours following provided an invaluable insight, on the back of which I realised an important point. What was clear throughout these conversations is that you can have all the physical strength in the world, but if you lack the mental strength, you are not going to get where you want to go… whether it be that ultimate adventure, or just getting through your working day, week and year.
Here are the top points I drew from the skipper, the team and my own experiences in the past when being part of a team effort;
- Do not lose your cool – it is not going to change anything, and all people will remember is how bad of a leader or team member you were.
- Surround yourself with the right team, and if they are not quite right, then help them overcome their weaknesses to get better – they will respect you more for that and remember you for it.
- Always look for the positive in the situation – you cannot change the past or what has already happened.
- You will get plenty of let downs, but focus on what’s ahead and what you can change.
- Don’t play a blame game, work together on the strengths of the team and what each person can contribute to get the best out of the situation.
- Like anything, planning and strategy is key.
- Never underestimate people’s strengths, no matter the age.
- Be mindful of what you can learn from others and their experience — no matter where you are at, you can always learn something new and even improve it for next time.
- …and most important of all, don’t forget your sense of humour!
I believe these types of achievements are a necessity to living a fulfilled, happy life. For sure, this was not my achievement, but it was great to be part of the spirit of competing and completing a once in a lifetime adventure. It was also good to be on the sideline and realise that you should never blame anyone or anything for what you do in life. Rather, you should accept the responsibility, learn from the experience and build your mental strength for the next exciting experience…