Last week, I went whale watching in San Diego. February is the perfect time to go. The gray whale makes its annual migration from the cold waters of the Arctic to the warm waters near Baja California.
As we headed out, we were all focused on seeing a “blow” – a waterspout marking the spot where a whale had come to the surface. We were fortunate to see many whales, including a mother and calf whose path we crossed several times as they swam southward toward Mexico.
But in spite of the blue sky, bright sunshine and the calm waters in San Diego Bay, the ocean beyond Point Loma was not calm, and the six to eight foot swells caused the boat to go up and down with each wave. Of course, once you feel sick, the natural inclination is to lie down, close your eyes and hope the awful feeling will go away. But it doesn’t. It only gets worse.
Having been on many boats in rough waters, I learned early on that the best remedy (aside from getting off the boat directly into the water or onto land) is to look at the horizon. The horizon is flat and steady. It keeps our attention focused on where we’re going!
This is a great metaphor for our lives, whether personal or professional. Dealing with the ups and downs of our lives – losing a friend, a health challenge, losing a client, or a financial loss – can literally make us feel sick and overwhelm us. This makes us want to lie down, close our eyes and hope it all goes away.
But this is actually when we need to look forward.
The next time you feel overwhelmed by the ups and downs of life, look out at your own horizon and ask these questions:
- What’s really important?
- What is my purpose?
- What am I trying to accomplish?
- What is the impact I want to make?
- What is my big Why?**
And see how quickly the uncertain waters calm.
Until next Tuesday,
**For more on the Big Why, check out Live Large: The Achiever’s Guide to What’s Next