Greater Competency Means Smoother Sailing
By Michael Angier
The vast majority of marine accidents happen because of mistakes made
by captain and crew.
And it's no different in our quest for success. Certainly there are times
when things outside of our control cause us problems and even result in
failure. But most of these can be overcome with greater knowledge and better
Piloting a boat is not really very difficult. Getting from point A to point
B under fair skies and friendly winds is something almost anyone can do with a
modicum of training.
But what we prepare for, what we really need to study, is how to handle
things when circumstances are less than ideal. When the weather deteriorates,
when equipment breaks, when things start to unravel, that’s when your
competence becomes critical. That's when your ability, your knowledge and your
experience can make the difference between people living and dying.
A good skipper is a good student. A good skipper asks questions. They think
about what they would do if X should happen. They drill themselves and they
drill their crew. They practice man-overboard situations. They learn how to
get sails down quickly. They have backups ... plan Bs and plan Cs.
A master yachtsman is constantly adding to their knowledge base, his or her
experience, learning to do things by rote ... better, faster and without
They do this because that's what's necessary for mastery, because NOT doing
so could mean catastrophic results.
Our preparedness, or un-preparedness, for our personal and professional
success may not seem quite so critical. It's not a matter of life and death,
but it's important nonetheless.
In order for us to fulfill our potential, we owe it to ourselves as well as
those we care about and those we serve to be constantly improving our skills.
We must always be learning. We must be preparing for unexpected economic
squalls. We should consistently be honing our abilities.
In doing so, we bring out the best that's in us and we raise the
expectations of those around us. Our confidence begets more confidence. It
attracts people to us. Every crewmember wants to be part of a competent team
with a skilled captain.
Your industry is worthy of your study. Enhancing your skills makes your job
easier and makes you more valuable in the marketplace.
Knowing enough to get by just won't cut it. We must challenge ourselves. It
makes our life more fun and more interesting. And it can make all the
difference in not only the quality of the journey but the wealth of the
Question to Ponder: What skills, knowledge and experience do you need to
In addition to setting goals about what we want to achieve, we should also
set goals as to what we want to learn. What skills do you want to acquire in
the next three months? What bodies of knowledge do you want to master? What do
you want to add to your experience? What courses will you take? Who will be
your tutor? What books will you read?
How much will you invest in your quest for competence?
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