Living the dream! That’s the pat expression that was slapped onto my back when people heard I lived aboard a sailboat. Yet the four years preparing myself and the boat for adventures near and far sure didn’t feel like a dream. More like a “lifequake” described by Bruce Feiler, author of Life is in the Transitions, as “a forceful blast of change in one’s life that leads to a period of upheaval, transition and renewal.”

This week that 37’ sailboat MAZU, that was home and home to the most intense learning period of my life, went to a new owner. Yes, seeing her go is bittersweet. Still, what I learned aboard MAZU will speak to ANYONE pulled towards a big hairy audacious goal.

Here, are a few of those learnings:

  • Overcoming fear — of big wind, seas, heavy equipment, and more – wasn’t about NOT feeling fear; it was about calming the mind, doing what had to be done with fear in the background.
  • Everyone needs to feel they have a meaningful role in life that engenders growth and fosters interdependence rather than dependence. Forget “pink” jobs and “blue” jobs.
  • Hanging out with people doing the same thing is not the same as connecting to people.
  • You can learn to do anything competently when driven by a sense of purpose or necessity.
  • Knowing of what you are capable will not reveal itself without quaking in your boots.
  • How much intellectual stimulation you need becomes apparent only when you don’t have enough!
  • Time alone is a precious gift to give your partner.

Life aboard was the right size mash-up of experiences for me to see how important it is to do scary things. And, from my perspective, those lessons learned on a boat are applicable to success in life at any age.

Postscript: Docking a big heavy boat is the most satisfying marriage of theory with practice and working with the wind, tides and currents!

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