“There is a Japanese proverb that literally goes ‘Raise the sail with your stronger hand’, meaning you must go after the opportunities that arise in life that you are best equipped to do.” – Soichiro Honda
Isn’t that a marvelous quote from Mr. Honda? When I engage with you on strengths, integrity, and self-leadership, I am raising my sail with my strong hand. I am doing what I do best. And I will continue to pursue opportunities that allow me to do what I am best equipped to do.
Am I there yet? No. Is it easy? No. Do I ever feel discouraged? Yes. Do I wish there weren’t roadblocks? Boy, do I ever. But I’m not giving up. Here is my reasoning: if I give up, the opportunities will dry up. I refuse to allow that to happen.
It’s a big world out there. For every person, boss, company, friend, spouse, uncle, parent, 2nd cousin, and family pet that undermines your value, snorts at your vision, and says, “That’ll never happen!” you must laugh at them and walk away, reaffirming your dreams with every fiber in your body. Someday, you’re going to meet that One Person In The Universe that says, ‘OMG, I love what you have to offer. Let’s put a plan together and I’ll help you carry it forward.”
That happened to me yesterday. And it happened again today. My ship was ready to sail, and I responded by hoisting my sail with my stronger hand. In the business world we call that MOMENTUM.
When that same quality of person crosses your path – and they will – will you be on deck and ready to raise your sail with your stronger hand? Is your ship ready to sail? Have you identified and internalized your strengths, linked them to past successes (with metrics!), documented your motivators, prepared talking points, defined a mission and vision, and crafted an irresistible value proposition? Oh, it’s hard work, and it takes time, no question about it. Look at the photo above – all the ropes, and masts, and rigging required to support our sails. All that “stuff” is a metaphor for the internal and external effort required to prepare for success. A sail without structure captures no wind. Few make the effort or the journey.
However, if you have made your ship ready to sail, when the trade winds of destiny suddenly strike, you will soar to magical heights that were once upon a time hidden from your view, and it will remind you that all the hard work was worth it.