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
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
A master yachtsman is constantly adding to their knowledge base, his or
her experience, learning to do things by rote ... better, faster and
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
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 destinations.
Question to Ponder: What skills, knowledge and experience do you need
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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