By Mimi Moore, Forbes Contributor & Executive Coach

Are you tired too? Are you in need of a break?

I was tired. I needed to regroup and I needed to regroup with my peeps.

And so, this month I embarked on a 2-week sailing journey with my husband and kids through the Thousand Islands – on the St-Laurent Seaway – this aquatic channel characterized by its biodiversity, refreshing waters, picturesque granite islands and secluded bays all of which border both Canada and the United States. Kudos to Parks Canada, we sailed and moored on several, beautifully outfitted island-parks.

On this journey, something happened. 

I experienced the wind – that powerful but often mysteriously illusive and unpredictable yet necessary element to a sailor’s forward motion. 

But I experienced something else too. 

I experienced greater self-awareness and foresight – which led to important reminders around intuition, trust, silence, sleep and empathy – all of which are keenly relevant to life, leadership and forward motion.

1.    Self- and situational awareness – In sailing, self- and situational awareness are critically important to navigate channels safely, and to successfully get from points A to B.  While it is relatively easy to succeed in a controlled setting, life rarely presents itself that way. The ability to recognize and subsequently react to changing conditions, challenges and opportunities is an important skill to develop.  Quick tips include identifying distractions, issues, trends, noticing others and surroundings, tracking variables and risks, and being vigilant.  

2.    Intuition – Skills are critically important and in sailing, it can mean the difference between life and death. That said, intuition – that inner body of knowledge – is just as valuable and reliable a point of reference, too often underutilized or ignored. Being aware of and listening to our intuition (aka, your gut) is a trustworthy habit that can be nurtured and developed over time.

 3.    Trust – On a sailboat as in life, conditions can change rapidly without advance notice. Hence the need to trust yourself and your shipmates. Hence the need also to be nimble, adaptive and have full confidence in the entire crew.  Trust is that essential human value that defines the interdependent quality of our relationships with others – a must for all leaders!

4.    Silence – Sailing provides ample opportunity for silence if we stop to listen to it. The secret is to stop long enough and to hold the space to simply be. Life offers similar opportunities if we seize them. If we want something new or something different, we must be prepared to hold the space for it to emerge.

5.    Foresight – While silence provides the opportunity to be fully present; foresight is the ability to anticipate the direction of the winds and the various options ahead. Being present and anticipating next steps are not mutually exclusive concepts. Au contraire – foresight is equally important to the equation. By being present and alert, you are also able to exercise with finesse and accuracy the ability to foresee or anticipate a particular need, opportunity, event or outcome – another must for effective leaders!

6.    Sleep – I realized rest and sleep are important. On this trip, I slept, I slept in, I napped. I read novels. I swam and I laughed with those closest to my heart. In short, I have come back replenished and rejuvenated; ready to tackle what comes next – in that steady forward motion.

7.    Empathy  As our sailing adventure came to an end, I found my daughter sitting at the bow by herself. She was crying. When I asked her why, she replied: “I am not sad our trip is over; I am just so happy it happened.” And so, I put my arm around her and we sat in silence contemplating in our shared space all that we had experienced together.

As I mentioned at the outset, I was tired and in need of a break. I needed to regroup with those closest to me who provide unconditional love and safety… and comic relief! It was a great opportunity to rest, to contemplate life, to re-prioritize myself, my well-being and that of my peeps.

What will your break look like? What can you gain from it?

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Transforming
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Pourquoi Pas, formerly exeCoaching International, helps individuals and organisations meet their challenges by discovering, inspiring and liberating human potential through change.

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