“To reach a port, we must sail – sail, not tie at anchor – sail, not drift.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt


I was in Coverack, Cornwall last week and saw this boat in the harbour and I started thinking about drifting – not just at sea but in life, or whether we are anchored to anything, and whether that ‘anything’ is useful. An odd thought perhaps and it may well have been at the moment I needed just one more Cornish cream tea or a Cornish pasty.

There are so many metaphors from sporting activities, and as I was learning to sail, I found those linked to sailing really interesting. Some might even say clichéd. But I love them, they’re so expressive.


Since I returned, I have to admit that I did find it hard to settle down into “normal” life, whatever “normal” is supposed to look like. And if I was to admit it, I had perhaps drifted into things that appeared at the outset interesting and exciting, and also to some extent, feeling as though I “should” take on a particular role, rather than be more discerning.

What is normal

In the job I’d done prior to sailing, I had a great team; we supported each other and worked together with a clear end in mind, always considering the art of the possible. And as a racing crew, I loved that team spirit and wanted to replicate it in the work that I undertook following the race. Achieving the art of the possible.

Yet what I too often found in some of the work environments was a situation where some people were more interested in retaining the status quo, or told me that ‘it had never been done before, so it can’t be done’. For those of you who know me, you can imagine how I felt hearing those kind of words.

Yes, grrr and gnashing of teeth!

So back to the picture of the boat – to get away from drifting, it was time for me to take stock. And to do this, I worked with a friend who helped me to challenge and consider what was important to me, to think about my personal anchors in life, aka values. In other words knowing what I value most, recognising my guiding principles. This is what we came up with and which I thought I’d share with you: Family, Friendship and Integrity along with Curiosity, Courage, Authenticity and Fairness.

Thank you to Malin www.the-expatcoach.com for helping me define what is important to me. Now that I have this, I can more constructively figure out what next so that I can find an environment, and a role in which I can be the best that I know I can be. I also had a conversation with a coach called Dan Beverly http://danbeverly.com who helped me focus, knowing what my values are, on how I get to where I want to be.

Am I there yet? Not quite.

Yet I am closer to being there than I have been. And I have the end in mind – working with curious, authentic people, who want to be the best they can be by being courageous and fair, living and working with integrity, in what they do for themselves, their team and the organisation – and ultimately for something much bigger.

If, as you’re reading this, you’re wondering where you’re at, what next, and/or what’s important to you, I’d highly recommend that you take time to define your own personal values and goals. I’m not suggesting that you should take on a round the world yacht race in order to help you to be clear about who you are and what you stand for, yet I do encourage and perhaps challenge you to have that conversation with yourself.

My challenge to you to do this is not just for the sake of securing a great job but also about living your life to its fullest. Some of you may have read the articles by nurses working in palliative care, about regrets of people who are dying. The top five regrets were noted as:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
  4. I wish I’d stayed in touch with friends
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier

Reference: “Inspiration and Chai”

I dare you – have that courageous conversation with yourself if you haven’t done so already. And then consciously choose your path – set your sails and aim for that destination. You might end up drifting every now and again, but you know what – with a good anchor, even when the tide might appear to be dragging you backwards, your anchor will hold until the tide turns and you can then move forward once more.

Need some help with that conversation – drop me a note -alysouns@hotmail.com , or catch up with Malin, Dan or Lesley (my inspiration for racing the yacht that she a year earlier had sailed around the world 😉 ) You can reach Lesley at https://www.braveconversations.co.uk







1 thought on “Drifting?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s