Courage is Trusting You Can Figure Things Out Along the Way

Would you call yourself a brave person? Do you think you're courageous? I've learned that courage is just another word for being resourceful. It's going ahead even when you don't have all the answers. It's trusting you can figure things out along the way.

I got clear about this while sailing the Chesapeake Bay with Captain Jen on her classic schooner. She generously gave me a chance at the helm of her classic schooner the Woodwind (the beautiful yacht featured in the movie Wedding Crashers with Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Christopher Walken and Rachel McAdams.)

What a thrill to feel the sails fill and the boat lift. While beaming from ear to ear, I asked Jen how she got into the business and she shared her backstory.

Jen sailed competitively through college and tried different careers but nothing “stuck.” She and her parents found this beautiful yacht, named her Woodwind, and invested their savings into buying it so Jen could start her own charter business. Jen drove up and down the East Coast searching for the perfect location to operate out of – and found it in Annapolis when she saw the Marriott had an unused dock by their waterfront restaurant.

She walked into the General Manager's office and convinced him it would be a win for the property ("Think of the extra room nights and food/beverage income from new guests.") to allow her to rent that space.

I told her I admired her entrepreneurial spirit and told her the second most-asked question on my Year by the Water was, "How did you get to be so brave?”

I told Jen I never once thought of this as being “brave.”

She smiled and said, “Me neither.”

She told me her folks (both music teachers) owned a boat from when she was a little girl and they often spent summers aboard. Jen remembered them giving her $5 and sending her off in a little dinghy to “get some ice cream.”

She laughed, “I didn’t realize until years later that was their way of getting some privacy. What I also didn’t realize was those solo forays in that dinghy taught me to trust the world. My parents didn’t warn me of the “dangers” of going off on my own. They had confidence I could handle whatever came up, so I had confidence too.”

I told her I had a similar version of that story – except with horses. My sister and I had our own horses by the time we were nine and ten. We would be gone all day, and our folks never worried. They trusted if something went wrong, we’d figure it out. If our horse bucked us off. Figure it out. If our horse ran away with us. Figure it out.

It wasn’t until later in life that I really “got” the enduring impact of those early years. Instead of seeing the world as a dangerous place, my sister and I grew up seeing the world as an adventurous place.

Instead of being afraid something might go wrong, we understood things probably would go wrong at some point, and when they did, it was our responsibility to be resourceful.

We didn’t panic or sit around and wait to be rescued, and we didn’t feel abandoned or think our parents didn’t care about us. We learned we could take care of ourselves - which is the core of courage.

Setting out with anticipation (vs. apprehension) was our norm and Jen’s norm too.

I’ve since learned that for many people, their norm was just the opposite. Their norm was to have over-protective parents who constantly warned them to “be careful.” They weren’t sent off into the world with opportunities to discover their own way; they were cautioned about the danger of strangers and were hovered over by parents who rushed in at the first sign something might go awry.

My folks are gone now – so all I can do is send up heartfelt thanks for giving us a childhood where self-sufficiency was encouraged and where the world was depicted as a wondrous place, waiting to be explored.

One of the reasons my Year by the Water (and my life) has been so rewarding is because I know in my soul that "Courage is simply trusting - that no matter what happens - I can figure it out. Bravery is simply another name for resourcefulness."

After being an entrepreneur for thirty years, and after having the privilege of working with many entrepreneurs in many different industries; I've come to understand that entrepreneurs are explorers and adventurers at heart.

Entrepreneurs revel in their independence. They're not intimidated by uncertainty, they welcome it. They find new ventures exciting (not frightening) because they trust their ability to "figure it out." Instead of being afraid something might go wrong; they jump in and proactively fix what's wrong. They know the world rewards the resourceful.

Do you want to launch something and you're scared? Do you want to start a small business, write a book, learn a new skill, return to a favorite hobby - but you don't know exactly how to do it or you're afraid you won't do it perfectly?

Do it anyway and figure it out along the way.

As my son Andrew would say, "GTS it. GTS = Google that Stuff. You can find out ANYTHING you want to know in seconds. If you put "How can I start a small business? How can I start my own web design agency? How can I get funding for my startup, How can I market my new business?" into search, up will come the answers to the test. There's no mystery how to do things anymore. Experts are sharing their best practices for free and they can guide you on your way.

Print this out and take a friend to lunch today. Use this as a discussion guide to support you in seeing yourself as brave and moving forward what you would like to do.

1: Reflect and look back to clarify your beliefs: Were you brought up to trust or distrust the world? Were you encouraged to explore - to be entrepreneurial? Were you given opportunities to "figure things out?" Do you play it safe? Do you worry about things going wrong or do you expect them to and just get resourceful when they do?

2: Look ahead to clarify what you're going to believe from now on: Start thinking of yourself as courageous. Trust you can figure things out along the way. Instead of thinking, "I don't know, so I can't go," GTS what you need to know. Set things in motion. Understanding that if things can wrong, you can handle them. Picture how fulfilling life is going to be now that you see it as an adventure; how exciting it's going to be to explore new opportunities, go new place, make new friends, delight in new discoveries.

courage - trust along the way.

Why Are We Drawn to Water?

Are you drawn to water?  Do you love being in, on, around or by it?  Why?

For me, water is the perfect metaphor for reflection. It’s not just that water feels like “home.” (After all, we are 65% water., All of us are  bodies of water.)
why drawn to water text image
It’s not just that water is beautiful, calming, powerful, musical and  inspiring … all at the same time.
It’s not just that water is a muse. (Much like some people drop into a hypnotic state gazing at fire, I lose myself in a writer’s reverie while gazing at and working by water.)
It’s not just that it’s the perfect forum for freedom of movement. (We can swim in water. Float on it. Sail, boat; paddle board, raft and surf on it. Dive in it. Walk and run around it. Splash, play and revel in it.)
For me, it’s the dynamism of water that makes my soul sing. The multi-faceted nature of it. The many yin-yang forms of it. The metaphorical epiphanies facilitated and fostered by it.
Just think of all the thought-provoking quotes associated with water.
1. “I feel most at home in the water. I disappear. That’s where I belong.” – Michael Phelps (Me too. I feel at home by, in, on and around water. Although I don’t disappear. I come alive.)
2. “To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.” – Alan Watts (Yes, I trust and am relaxing into this experience. When people ask how my Year by the Water is going, I tell them, “Swimmingly.”)
3. “The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.” – Isak Dineson (It rarely happens, but if something goes wrong, all I have to do it get in water and it washes away the worries.)
4. “Being on a boat that’s moving through the water, it’s so clear. Everything falls into place in terms of what’s important and what’s not.” – James Taylor (Agreed. Water produces clarity and instant perspective.)
serendestiny text image
5. “The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us, and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.” – George Eliot (One of the reasons I set out on my Year by the Water adventure is because I wanted to experience the angels and imprint the golden moments now, not some day in the far off future … or never.
I believe that SerenDestiny - a life where the light is on in our eyes - is not something we sit around and hope for - it's something we take responsibility for)
6. “Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river.” – Jorge Louis Borges (Water and time are indeed Rorschach tests. How we view them often reveals how we view ourselves.)
7. “Luck affects everything. Let your hook always be cast; in the stream where you least expect it there will be a fish.” – Ovid (I am reveling in open days. They are lucky hooks that catch unexpected streams of blessings.)
8.  “I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” – Isaac Newton (People ask where I’m going to return to when my year’s up. I’m not going to return to anything. I’m not going back to who I was or where I lived. There’s an ocean of truths I’ve yet to explore. Onward. )
As I travel around the country and visits oceans, bays, waterways, streams, rivers and waterfalls … I am thrilled with their capacity to fill me with wonder, appreciation and awe.
Water has become a non-negotiable for me. I’ve lived around and by the water for the past 29 years (Hawaii for 17 years and then on Lake Audubon and Lake Thoreau in Virginia for 12 years) When it’s time to find my next home (I’ve realized I don’t want to SETTLE DOWN. What a depressing phrase.
Settle means compromise and down equals depressed), I want to be like the settlers. The settlers headed west, exploring new country, scouting for a home that had just the right elements. Water. Good soil. Trees. Mountains. A way to do business or earn a living. When they found the right combination of elements, they didn’t settle down, they SETTLED IN.
 At some point, I will be ready to SETTLE IN. Not yet. When it’s time, like the settlers, my next home will be by water. For me, water is at the core of a right life.
How about you? Do you love the water? Why? What role does it play in your life? water book cover
How does it inspire you, center you, feed your soul, heal you, nourish you, energize you, catalyze your creativity? How does it reconnect you with what matters?
I look forward to hearing what water means to you and how you keep it in your life.
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Sam HornIntrigue Expert, TEDx speaker, author of ConzentrateTongue Fu! and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? –  has the best of all worlds doing work she loves, speaking for such clients as NASA, National Geographic, Boeing, Cisco, Capital One, writing books/blogs that add value, and helping clients craft one-of-a-kind projects that scale their impact – for good.

Sam is practicing what she teaches and is on her Year by the Water - traveling to oceans, rivers, bays and bayous, writing about her water-related experiences and epiphanies. and sharing them via her blogs and presentations.  Contact us at 805 528-4351  to arrange for Sam to share her inspiring insights and stories at your next event. 

Sail OM

What a joy it was sailing on Chesapeake Bay with Captain Jen. I was in Annapolis, saw a flyer for Woodwind Schooners, called to sign up, and BOOM, was on the water later that afternoon.

Jen graciously gave me a go at the Woodwind II’s helm (yes, the same beautiful 74 foot schooner that was featured in the movie The Wedding Crashers.)

If you sail, you know what a visceral thrill it is when the sails fill with wind and the boat lifts, heels and digs in … all at the same time.  It is - in a word - uplifting.

I was so happy, I found myself humming Christopher Croft’s “Sailing” and The Commodores “Sail On.”

Part of the lyrics are:

“It's not far back to sanity at least it's not for me And when the wind is right you can sail away and find serenity Oh the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see, believe me

Sailing, takes me away To where I've always heard it Just a dream and the wind to carry me Soon I will be free”

And the melody in “Sail On” is: “Good times never felt so good”

A new friend on the boat snapped this picture and said, “You were so obviously in your element.  You were beaming.”

I laughed out loud and instantly realized what I was going to caption this photo.

Sail OM.

“Om” is defined as a “cosmic sound,” a “divine affirmation,” the “essence of breath” and “with which one is liberated.”

Yes … that is what it’s like sailing on a perfect, sunny day ...  alive, healthy, free and filled with gratitude.

How about you?

Do you sail?  What are some of your favorite memories of sailing?  What’s it mean to you?  What do you do that fills you with OM -  a "divine affirmation?"