Posted by Meriel Swain on (comments: 0)

Changing Tack

You can't change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust your sails to always reach your destination.Jimmy Dean

For me, one of the most important aspects of coaching is being able to help my clients see that they have choices. When we get stuck in a rut, our blinkers work really well. We are only focussed on a single outcome, and can't see the other choices that are available to us. 

This quote reminded me of my childhood. My Dad, along with my brothers, built a Mirror Dinghy. I can still remember the heady smell of the fibreglass. We went on caravan holidays, and the boat went on the roof of the car, which contained all six of us, and the car towed the caravan. We didn't go anywhere quickly, but we did frequently go to europe in this way for our summer holidays.

Anyway, my vivid memory is of us all being in the dingy, come rain or shine, and having to sail from A to B. And that if the wind wasn't blowing in the direction of A to B, then a lot of tacking and jibing was involved. My Dad would shout "ready about" to warn us we were about to change direction. In reality, this meant "be prepared to duck" as once he changed the tiller and mainsail, he would shout "lee-oh" and the sail would swing rapidly from one side of the dingy to the other, and you had to duck pretty quickly to make sure you were underneath it, or be swept overboard! There were a few occasions when this was on a warm sunny day in the South of France. Mainly, it was grey and windy and we were somewhere on the Solent in the UK. 

Getting from A to B is rarely plain sailing. There are always choices along the way. If you stick to the most direct route you have planned it is very likely that you will be broadsided by the wind and capsize. However, if you harness the wind to give you momentum, with some little changes in direction which keep the wind moving you forward, you will reach your destination safely. 

Here is a picture of me and my eldest brother, somewhere in the South of France, circa 1968, sitting on said dinghy. 

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