So, you’re adrift in the ocean. What do you do?

Imagine, you’re alone on a boat and it suddenly sinks. You’re in the middle of the ocean with a life vest and no sign of land. What do you do? Before we go down the “to do list”, let’s think about what you probably won’t be doing.

  • You probably won’t be blaming your cubicle partner for your circumstance.
  • You probably won’t be reflecting on the third grade bully who ate your lunch everyday.
  • You probably won’t be cursing your parents for not showing you enough love as a teenager.
  • You more than likely will not be blaming your race, national origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation for your situation.
  • You won’t be reflecting on all the trophies you received for showing up for sports teams as a kid.
  • You probably won’t be thinking about those hateful words your partner shared before you went out the door.
  • You won’t be blaming your dilemma on your neighbors making more money than you do.

No, most of the things above, and a hundred others, may have influenced your life in one way or the other, but they really aren’t who you were designed to be. They have been thoughts, experiences and detours that created the way you see the world. But, actually, what you’re most likely to do is reason out how to survive. It’s just you and the elements. So, what do you do?

  • Settle your mind, let go of your fears and think. Don’t panic. Panic consumes valuable energy. Think. What’s the worst thing that could happen? You could die. What’s the best thing that could happen? You could live. OK, choose the best thing. That was simple, now, what’s the best use of the limited resources you have? Arms, legs, life vest, etc.
  • How can you get the maximum benefit out of those limited resources?
  • Accept the fact that your survival is completely up to you at this point. There is no one to help you, so you’ve got to learn to use your resources, conserve your strength and stay focused.
  • How long are you willing to stay in this mode? Until you’re rescued. Good, you’re making progress.
  • What if it takes longer than you think? You keep going.
  • What if it takes a lot longer than you think? You still keep going. You made the decision that you’re going to live, and living takes work.
  • Now it’s time to work your plan while you wait to be rescued.

And, when that ship picks you up, all of life’s past traumas, all of the bullies, the bad bosses, the poor childhood experiences, the loneliness, past anger, failures, injuries and disappointments did not make you the person that was rescued.

What you did when your life depended on it was completely up to you. You conquered the biggest challenge you will likely ever face, and you did it because of you.

The same is true in all areas of life if you’re willing to suit up in your life vest and lose sight of the shore. All of the challenges of the past become just that, past. All of the successes of the future will born out of a new you, a competent, confident and capable you.