On Saturday evening, I listened with fascination as a friend of mine relayed his memories overcoming of challenge as he completed 2 legs of the Round the World Clipper Race earlier this year.

He had an audience of 100 captivated in his every word as he detailed his journey experiences. He shared with us what being on a 6,6,4,4,4 shift pattern like, what ‘hotbunking’ is and what it really meant to have sleep deprivation. He caused consternation as he talked about issues with the ‘heads’ (toilets) and how he became known ‘Head of heads’ due to his learned ability in being able to fix the toilet.

It was fascinating to hear how human endeavour gave them permission to overcome personal, boat and sea issues. He shared amusing stories and reminded us of the caution needed when existing in such an inhospitable place. The unrelenting sea did take people during this race (although not on his boat),  and credit to him, he did not dwell on this. Just as a mountaineer focuses on a hill, he was focused on the sea and the living in the now. He left the worry and concern to others maybe thousands of miles away on land back home.

This was a tremendous battle for him.

A battle that brought him back an even larger man, with sea stories to captivate and energise us all. A journey of preservation, caution and respect for the elements, as well as a journey that has helped him to respect some of life’s natural boundaries.

I am in awe, full of respect and driven to translate this great experience of another, and learn from the natural metaphors that co-exist with our business life. He challenged his personal boundaries, and is better for it and the talk reminded me of this need to challenge personal boundaries in our business life.

We need to continually strive to do stuff better, whatever that stuff is and whatever better means to us.



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