Ever since I was a kid, I have always been fascinated by ships. I think that tall ships in particular are very beautiful, and I respect the craft of traditional, old-world sailing that is still taught and practiced with such vessels.
Of course, I'm no sailor, but I'm sure that I'm not alone in my appreciation of a good sailing metaphor and a little inspiration.
In our lives and careers, we are bound to have times when we feel as if we have lost the wind in our sails. Maybe you've encountered disappointment or you've been hurt by someone you looked up to. For a brief time, it may be difficult to move forward past those feelings of discouragement.
The last time I felt like I had lost the wind in my sails, I found myself wondering what sailors did in such situations. I decided to consult my friend Mike Weiss, who has been trained globally in the craft of old-world sailing and is now Waterfront Foreman at the historic South Street Seaport Museum in Manhattan. I was confident that I would find my answer and the inspiration I was looking for.
Mike encouraged me to research doldrums, which in sailing refers to key areas of the world where the winds are known to cease (mostly near the equator). Sail-driven vessels could be trapped in these areas for days or even weeks.
All that sailors can do in this situation is stay put. They let the ship float or drop an anchor if possible to keep from floating in an undesired direction. They position the vessel and adjust sails and other parts of the ship to minimize movement relative to where the ship is anchored. They also rely on old sailing traditions to pass the time and keep their morale.
Mike's nautical knowledge was just what I needed to hear.
It's normal for sailors to lose the wind in their sails. It's a temporary situation and it will pass. Sometimes you just have to embrace the stillness, stay put, and float a bit while you regroup and make necessary adjustments. It's also critical to have an anchor, something that helps you stay put when you're tempted to drift off course and into the waters of negativity.
If you can help it, try not to let anyone or anything take the wind out of your sails. If it can't be helped, remember that losing the wind in your sails does not mean that you have to give up the ship. It also doesn't mean that your ship is sinking.
Just focus on maintaining your ship and before you know it, you will surely have wind in your sails again.
Special thanks to Mike Weiss of South Street Seaport Museum.
Want to gain some nautical knowledge with Mike? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org .