My family and I were fortunate enough to buy some waterfront property on Puget Sound and suddenly it made sense that we should have a boat. I believed we should start with an "introductory" watercraft... the old fashioned canoe. So we headed to the local sporting good store and bought a 14 footer that my seven–year–old soon christened the SS Floaty (which I imagined was much better than the SS Sinky).
All of us were in the tiny boat for the maiden voyage. My wife Denise was in the front, Alex (age four) was in the back sitting in a shallow puddle the whole trip, and Andrew (age seven) was in the middle with Bailey (our seven–year–old Golden Retriever). I was the rudder man, paddling from the back. All of us, including the dog, wore life jackets.
The day began sunny as we headed out to the far North of a stretch of land called Erlands Point. We had no idea that this maritime threshold is where—on that particular day—the currents and wind changed. We also took no notice of the wind at our backs or the storm clouds that were brewing behind us. We simply paddled, marveling at how easy it was to make progress while admiring the beauty of huge eagles and lush waterfront homes.
Twenty minutes later we turned around and faced reality. Rain began to sprinkle and then pour. We headed closer to shore in case we needed to make a run for land. The winds then accelerated into our faces and the tides changed, pushing us backwards instead of forwards. My wife and I hunkered down for some serious paddling. Even as inexperienced sailors, we knew that hard work was the only way to get back home.
After putting some serious muscle into it, we started making a little progress. I was glad that no one was watching, because I wanted to get home under my own power and prove my manliness. And then it happened. The winds blew even harder and the currents became stronger and we became witness to the sheer power of nature. We were no match. We began moving backwards again, this time at an alarming rate despite our best efforts. We'd never make it home like this. Andrew began to mumble words like Titanic, Hindenberg, and space shuttle Columbia. I was losing my sense of humor.
I headed in for shore and scanned for a place of safety when I noticed a man walking in his back yard. "Ya need any help?" he yelled through the storm.
"Mind if we use your dock?" I asked, disappointed with myself while at the same time negotiating rocks and rough waves.
"No problem. Here, I'll pull you in."
My wife thanked the heavens for this angel. I felt like a weakling who had just let his family down. His name was Cole, and he was a truly experienced sailor. He quickly pulled us in, tied up ol' Floaty, drove us home, shared a few of his own sea stories, told me I had done a nice job heading in for shore, and within thirty minutes had us all sipping hot cocoa. Before long, I had abandoned my testosterone–driven self and reveled in the safety, warmth and laughter of my family.
As with all experiences that make a great story someday later, I searched for the meaning. The experience of our maiden voyage on the Floaty was relevant in so many areas of life, and I could hardly ignore how it applied to Network Marketing. Here's how.
First, take notice when the wind is at your back and enjoy the push from behind, but also look out for storm clouds sneaking up on you.
Second, have fun with those you love but don't allow your stubbornness to put them in harm's way.
Third, don't be afraid to show your vulnerability to others. Chances are they have been just as vulnerable at some point and they are willing to assist you to get wherever it is you're going.
Fourth, working hard isn't always the solution. Sometimes finding another mode of transportation and a new friend will get you there WAY faster and with much less effort (feel free to use this one with prospects, because you have the supersonic benefits of network marketing, while many of them are paddling like crazy in their clunky canoe called the SS Job).
And last, when all is said and done, it is not about the destination, and sometimes not even about the journey, but it's the loved ones you've shared the journey with, the new friends you've met along the way and the safety, warmth and laughter that you'll share with them that will sustain you with joy and fulfillment.
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