I recently read a statement from Oliver Wendell Holmes. He said, “To reach the port of success, we must sail; sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it, but we must sail, not drift or lie anchor.
This quotation and thought led me to break down the approach for sailing toward a successful life. The first step for a successful sailor is to have a specific port he is trying to reach. We who seek a successful life must also have an objective. The objective must be clear and concise, crystallized and definite. Too often we are very fuzzy as to our main objective in life. Our main objective is beyond what we do. It’s beyond the income, sales, and money we earn. It’s beyond our business and all the challenges that surround it. Too often the objective is monetary based. To earn X amount of dollars or sell so many homes, in my perspective, is not the one main objective in life. It at best is a goal to be obtained along the way. The desired end is not the money itself. It could be what the money could do for us, or the lifestyle it affords us to have in the future.
One of my favorite speakers is Jim Rohn. Jim talks about it not being the money that makes the millionaire. It is what that person became in order to attract the million dollars. It’s the skill, mindset, discipline and character that person developed that truly are valuable. The money can be fleeting, but the other skills of character, mindset, and discipline last forever.
One of the hardest tasks in life is to set that clear objective. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Everyone would achieve success. We are often stopped by the difficulty of the task. The difficulty should be viewed as an advantage. Now that’s a novel mindset, isn’t it? The more difficult the task, the fewer are the people who will master it. The fewer people who have mastery, the lower the level of competition will be. Few people have mastered success. That’s why there is so much opportunity. Studies have shown that the peak earning years for people are in their 50’s and early 60’s. For many it takes that long to master success. It takes years of trial and error to get it right. Most people never hit the mark or get it right. If we are progressing, learning and moving forward, we are successful…provided we have a definite aim or objective.
The second key point in the Oliver Wendell Holmes quotation is the section that referred to ‘against the wind or with the wind.’ There will be days when things go smoothly and we are with the wind. We are hot and everything we touch turns to gold. We gain appointments easily. We create trust effectively with our prospects and clients. The market around the country is responding favorably with listings selling within days. A skilled sailor will sail long and hard on those days. He will insure that he makes the most miles he can by sailing longer, harder, and with more focus and intensity. How often do we let up when we have things rolling and the momentum is with us. When we have favorable wind, do we take a mental break? Do we let up? That’s the time to pour it on.
It seems human nature to let up or to ease back on the throttle of success. People often neglect what they did that created the momentum in the first place, but you must not. Carpel Diem…Seize the day. Seize the opportunity when the conditions are favorable. There will also be days, weeks, and maybe longer when the wind is against you, when you feel like you are right in the middle of a squall. A highly skilled sailor just realizes that this is a passing storm. He may not know the length and breadth of the storm, but it will pass in time. When the storm hits you need to understand it will pass on. You can weather the challenge. A sailor will also go back to basics in a storm. He will take down the spinnaker. He may remove the jib. He might even lower the mainsail slightly. He focuses all his attention on the most important thing to get him out of the storm.
He focuses on the mainsail. What’s your mainsail in life? What’s the mainsail in your business? Do you focus intently on the mainsail in times of trial or are you concerned about the spinnaker? There will always be peripheral stuff in your life and business, but don’t take down the mainsail. Keep working the wind. Use your mainsail…weather the storm.
The last essential is for you not to stop, never quit. Perseverance leads to success. Champions don’t stop when they encounter adversity. They keep focus on the objective and don’t let the tides drift them off course. You can learn a lot from a skilled sailor. The skills and challenges are the same in sailing as in real estate. Decide on an objective. Plot the course. Navigate the winds and challenges. Celebrate when you arrive.
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