20 Aug Rising Tide
One of my favourite sayings is: “A rising tide floats all boats” which carries the meaning that good economic times are good for everyone.
This saying is simply a maritime metaphor, and the boat represents one’s capacity to succeed. In the Maritimes, our culture, historically, and prosperity has been closely connected to the sea and our ability to make a living from it; therefore, a good boat was absolutely essential.
Of course, this metaphor is true for all boats that are able to float and for everyone who has a boat. Some who would argue that their boat doesn’t float, or they don’t have a boat at all, therefore, the rising tide actually hurt them or sinks their boats. I’d like to cover how it is possible for all of us to be prepared for the next opportunity. I spoke to a wise person about this idea of a “rising tide” and they were able to contribute a few different perspectives, which I also hope to cover in this article.
Here’s the deal, you can’t stop the tide. It will continue to rise and fall as it has for millennia and there will always be those whose fortunes rise with the tide and those who do not. With that being said, if you’re not ready for this tide, get ready for the next. Fix your boat, build a boat, or buy a boat. If none of those options are possible for you at this time, you can take small steps towards attaining a boat of your own which will put you in a position to catch the next rising tide.
The analogy is not as simple as it appears, being able to have success in business and personal life has a lot to do with how we treat ourselves, our mindset in life, and the seemingly minute decisions we make every day. Building daily habits and taking responsibility for your actions is an enormous part of success. Some may chalk up your accomplishments to luck; however, I read recently, that “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”. Through factors we’ve consistently worked to grow and maintain, such as education, health, and support networks, we have worked to put ourselves in a position to succeed. With this foundation, you have attained a boat, put it in the water, and now you await the tide.
Here is my take on the small things we can do to prepare ourselves for success because boats in disrepair don’t float well:
- Maintenance – Everything needs to be maintained and sometimes repaired including our mental and physical health. By taking care of yourself with exercise, eating right, and getting enough sleep, we can perform our best. Just like a boat, if it leaks and you spend most of your time bailing water, you can’t simultaneously be an opportunist ready for when the tide rises, and the fair winds blow.
- Organization – Being organized with the little things in life builds the habits required to achieve success. I am a list maker and always have been. The way I manage to stay organized is to get the thoughts out of my head, written and prioritized. It is easy to get distracted by life in general and it’s tempting to veer from the list to run around putting out fires. This is why it’s important to be disciplined, within reason of course, because sticking to the list which allows you to stay on track and feel accomplished at the end of each day. Just like a boat, there are priorities; painting the rails is not important if your sails are tattered and need repair, set priorities and focus on what will yield the best results. Remember, he boat doesn’t have to be pretty to float, so take care of what is important first.
- Education – This is not focused stickly on formal education. A requirement for success is to always be learning from your experiences as well as those of others. Be a reader even if you don’t like it! Learn about yourself and your personal strengths; find something you are good at, preferably something you enjoy and something others value, and use it to your advantage. It may help to seek formal training when you find that passion. If you are going to have a sailboat, you should understand sailing, navigation, and weather. Use all your resources to become a sailor and you have a decent chance to succeed. Now, if you only have a canoe, become a really good paddler. Don’t complain about the person with the bigger boat, just focus on what you can do with your skillset and the boat you have. That’s when it comes down to mindset!
With all that being said, we all have storms in our lives: we get rejected for a position, we fail a course or a semester, we lose our jobs, or someone steals from us. These storms have the potential to sink our boats but if we are prepared, we can weather the storms and come out the other side wiser and better prepared for the next opportunity. These storms aren’t failure unless we choose to quit. Quitting isn’t an option because the tide will always rise again and we want to be ready.
This leads nicely into the next subject; I have never had much patience for excuses. I have removed the word “can’t” from my vocabulary. I believe that everything is possible, and with the right perspective and application, we can achieve anything. However, there are a few people with a differing opinion. They have all sorts of reasons why they don’t have a boat or why it is imposable to have one. Most of the time these are simply excuses. This circles back to what I have written above. These people have allowed their boats to fall into disrepair, failed to maintain them which sabotaged their own chances.
Some simply were not willing or able to put the mental or physical effort into acquiring or building their own boat. An individual’s personal situation is not the fault of the tide or the working people who have good boats. In other words, a booming economy or successful people are not a reason for someone else to fail. It’s important to veer away from the idea of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’. Now, this is not to say that some people haven’t encountered tough circumstances that make it extremely difficult for them to achieve success. This is where the social fabric of our country must step in to provide the assistance necessary to help those in need. I believe that helping every individual and community grow is a positive thing because the better everyone is doing, it’s better for our region and the entire country. If all boats float, then we all prosper.
For those who read this article, I truly hope you prepare your boat for the next rising tide and sail with succuss and confidence.
Dan Monk, P.Eng. / Red Seal Carpenter
Owner – MONK Renovations