“A ship in harbor is safe, but then again, that’s not what ships are for.”
This is one of my favorite quotes of all time.
I think I like it so much because, automatically, you can see the parallels between a ship’s purpose and the purpose of an individual. There’s no point to building a ship if it’s just going to sit in harbor, build something permanent instead.
A ship’s only reason for existence is to leave harbor and pursue a mission.
Which begs the question, why do we have harbors then? Why not use a ship for its intended purpose all the time?
A ship needs to come in to harbor to repair, refuel, and recalibrate its next course in order to stay in service as long as possible and have the best voyages it possibly can.
We are built the same way.
We are safe sitting in our harbor (i.e. our house, our couch, our comfortable job, our relationship, the town we never left). Insert whatever your personal harbor is.
However, deep down, if we think about what our purpose is. What we get the most satisfaction from. What lights us up. What we believe in. What we are better at than most…
It’s not sitting in harbor. It’s going out and taking a voyage. Doing the thing that we were made to do.
As with ships, some of our voyages will go much better than others. Some will be sunny and clear and you will enjoy every minute at sea, then others will be painful work, bringing you to the brink of survival and asking yourself why you would ever take this voyage in the first place.
The great thing is that harbor is always there to return to. Very few know what their purpose will be for the rest of their lives and no one can constantly pursue their purpose without ever taking a break. That’s why harbors exist. Set a course, take a voyage, and return to harbor to repair, refuel, and recalibrate for the next.
It’s the time between voyages where the true growth happens. It’s difficult to take stock of the lessons learned when you are at sea and about to be torn apart by a wave. However, when we are in harbor, and thinking about what we just experienced, we can make better plans for a more skilled and purposeful voyage the next time out.
Just like a ship will upgrade it’s equipment over time and its captain will grow and improve, its 100% expected that your point of view will evolve with each voyage as well. What you once thought to be undeniably truth will be totally debunked on your most next voyage and you become a more evolved person now as a result. This is all ok and expected. How could this not be the case?
In fact, to sit in harbor for 50 years planning, with expectation that eventually you will set out and experience the perfect voyage as a result of all this planning is setting yourself up for incredible disappointment and regret.
It’s the voyages themselves, successful or complete failures, that give you the perspective and wisdom to continually build up to your ultimate voyages, the ones that you feel like you were put on this earth to take.
This blog is a voyage, each deal we do is a voyage, my marriage is a voyage. It’s an undertaking, a chance, an opportunity to experience life toward a destination that we have deemed worthy of our time.
As I write this, I’m in northern Idaho, staying in a little AirBnB cabin tucked back in the woods on a lake with my family. I’m in my personal harbor. Repairing, refueling, and recalibrating.
It’s during these times that clarity around the next voyage takes place. All it takes is paying attention to where your mind goes when you give it the space to wonder.
Maybe it’s a place, a hobby, a mission, a person, a curiosity, an occupation.
There is a reason why something interests you so much, why you think about it when you don’t have to, and when it’s what remains when you’ve eliminated all of the rest of the noise. Your next voyage calls you, you don’t pursue it.
Enjoy harbor, but when it comes time to set sail, focus on the voyage that really matters to you, and sail with all you’ve got!