I was recently sailing with my daughter on Chautauqua Lake in western New York State. We were enjoying the day when she asked, “Are we sinking?” I thought the question absurd until I looked down in the cockpit and saw the bailer plug floating free and water gushing out.
“Why yes. Yes, we are.” I said.
Being two miles off-shore I knew we were in trouble so I moved to rectify the situation. I reacted too quickly, throwing us off balance and in an instant, both of us were floundering in the water.
My knee-jerk reaction compounded the problem. Our immediate attention shifted from getting safely to shore to getting back into the boat.
Our sailing adventure is a great lesson in: (1) the need to pay attention and monitor the things that are essential to success, and (2) not overreacting, so that the response doesn’t magnify an issue, turning a simple challenge into a full-blown crisis.
When a succession of critical mishaps occurs, it is easy to lose track of the original problem. Just because you fix the most pressing issue doesn’t mean the boat isn’t still sinking.
One way to remain in control is to foresee problems ahead of time.
When have you done this successfully and what was the result?