Rowing a boat by yourself across the Atlantic ocean would probably not cross the mind of most people reading this blog, much less most people in the world. Just thinking about preparing for such a journey makes my head spin. In 2005, Roz Savage became the first solo woman to traverse the Atlantic Ocean in a boat powered by Savage and her two oars. 3,000 miles of Atlantic blue and approximately 1,000,000 rows of the paddles finally landed her on dry ground. In an interview, Savage talked about fear. She said that fear overwhelmed her for the first two weeks. Fear became such a companion, that after two weeks, she wore it like a blanket. She stepped out of her comfort zone so far that living with daily fear became comfortable. When asked in an interview why she would attempt this incredible adventure, her answer amazed me. She said that the fear of her life ending in the cube farm far surpassed the fear of fighting the Atlantic Ocean. The greater fear was not doing something that mattered.
Some of you reading this might find yourself in a cube right now. Maybe it’s a proverbial cube or more of a feeling of just being stuck. Recently, I started an adventure of my own. Only a few weeks old, I relate to the initial fear Roz talked about and seek the comfort that time will bring. The core for the both of us is motivation. Both Roz and I feel compelled by the same fear, we don’t want to feel stuck. As an executive leader in an organization, how could I possibly feel stuck? To some, I have made it; reached the pinnacle of my career. If that is true, then why do I feel like what I have accomplished just scratches the surface? There is more, more that matters.
Could Roz have failed? Yes, easily, and the result of her failure could have been devastating; but to her, not as devastating as not trying. Might I fail? Yes, and the results would be dreadful, not life threatening, but certainly financially challenging for my family. If I didn’t try, what would that teach those around me, those who are watching and involved? Talking about trying without action defines failure to me more than trying and not succeeding.
Do you feel stuck in a cube? Stuck with the feeling that something more awaits you? Taking a step out on “something more” may not necessarily mean that you leave your job. A friend of mine in South Bend, Indiana, opened a homeless shelter (http://projectwarmsb.org). He still has his job, but he has stepped out and followed his dream by doing something that matters to him. By not feeling stuck anymore, how much more productivity does he bring to his organization? As a leader, how many people sit in cubes around you right now feeling this way? There is something you can do to reach them. Be an example. Grab an oar, start rowing and start doing something that will one day become comfortable and worthwhile!