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Barnacles of Fear

Jenn and I spent an enjoyable, but busy summer together. We did more corporate gigs than normal for July and August so consequently, we spent less time than we hoped on our boat. We love stealing away on our Bayliner into the amazing salt water along the Pacific coast of BC. Unfortunately, I am learning more these days about the interesting things that happen when you leave a boat sitting in its salt-water slip at the marina. Did I mention that we didn’t get as much time on the boat as we were hoping for?

We finally found a chance to take her for a spin and headed out of the bay, as per usual. I normally like to open up the twin engines and give her a good run. This time, though, I couldn’t believe it…I couldn’t get the boat to plane, even though I had both throttles down.

We slowly returned to the marina. I was hoping our regular mechanic, Paul, could diagnose what was wrong and, of course, I’m thinking it’s going to be something expensive: engines, legs, anything that might affect the boat’s speed. Guess what? Paul’s first suggestion was a good cleaning. They pulled the boat, power washed the bottom and props, and next time out she immediately got up to speed, planed beautifully, and ran like a charm. No engine repair required. I am passionate about helping you plane on top, rather than plowing through the water of your work load. Here’s my first question for you: Have barnacles been attaching themselves to the bottom of your boat slowing down your Future Positive progress? Author Craig Sigl suggests that you are the captain of your journey; your skills, abilities, and talents are the engines powering your ride; the gas firing your engines is your inspiration and motivation. Let me add that one of the primary crustaceans sticking to the bottom of your boat and slowing down your forward progress might be fear. I challenge you to examine the underside of your metaphorical boat and try to identify the fears, worries, and anxious thoughts that are adhering to your keel. In our Thinking Tendencies Model© we identify fear as Future Negative Thinking. Even if a threat is only imagined, fear can attach itself to our boat, paralyze our actions, and put a drag on our forward progress. Fear slows down positive action! What are you and I anxious about as we head into the fall season? Are we looking towards the final business quarter, concerned about sales numbers? Are we fearful, going into hockey tryouts, that we might not make the team? Do we have a relational fear that is paralyzing us from the inside-out? This brings us to the logical next question: How do we power wash the fears off the bottom of our boats? My wife’s amazing Naturopath frequently says, “The patient always knows.” In other words, you know what you need to do; you just haven’t taken sufficient action yet to power through your fear.

Remember, courage is not the absence of fear!

We will always have fearful thoughts, and some of these fears warn us about what not to do in the future. But as Mark Twain sublimely stated: “If a cat sits on a hot stove, that cat won’t sit on a hot stove again. That cat won’t sit on a cold stove either. That cat just don’t like stoves [anymore].”

Some of the fears sticking to our boats result from past disappointments (getting burned by hot stoves), or memories of past “good-tries” that turned into losses. According to our model, these mindsets are rooted in Past Negative Thinking. These fears can be shifted. As the less-repeated second half of Victor Hugo’s above and often-quoted definition of fear reads: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it.” Throughout my NHL and business career, I have found that courage is best initiated by choosing to take massive action. This leads me to my final question:

What courageous actions will help you power-wash away your fears this week? By the way, our mechanic also told me that if I used my boat (courage) a little more, less stuff (fear) would stick to the bottom. Thanks, Paul! Have a courageous week! Ryan

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