Adam shares insights from the mid-Atlantic on his journey from Senegal to Miami. On day 19 at sea, he writes:
“What’s your Sea Anchor?
We have been spending a few nights, and recently a 36-hour period on sea anchor. In this post I will explain the purpose and action of the sea anchor. Also, I will use this fundamental ocean rowing tool as a metaphor for self-reflection. Rowing an ocean is a metaphor for life, after all. We each have our own oceans that we are pushing to cross.
A sea anchor is an underwater parachute that aligns the bow of your boat directly into the oncoming wind and wave pattern. After the sea anchor is deployed, the boat sits perpendicular to the aggressive weather, allowing your pointed bow to cut through the top of the waves. By facing the storm head on, you avoid disaster. (See where my metaphor is going?)
Often, you do not want to put out your sea anchor. You are rowing, making headway, and getting closer to your goal. The sea anchor will temporarily slow you down, and place you and your emotions in limbo. Jordan says “I feel like sea anchor is where my dreams go to die.” However, safety and survival are a priority. If you push too hard you can break an oar, your boat, or even harm your crew members. Your sea anchor is necessary to weather the storms of the ocean.
Now to the metaphor. We all face storms in our lives, whether they are family changes, divorce, death or health issues. Our businesses can be restructuring; we can be restructured; our competition can innovate faster than we can adapt; the markets crash.
So what is your sea anchor? What do you use to weather the storms of your life? Meditation, coffee with close friends, journaling, long walks in the forest, long rows on the river, time with family, time with your psychologist, time with your religion, time at your favourite vacation spot?
Obviously, if you constantly sit on sea anchor and take no risks, you will never get to your destination. You challenge is to find that fine balance, and embrace your sea anchor when it is necessary. You may feel like you are taking steps backwards when you throw out your sea anchor, but the end result is avoidance of certain disaster. Moreover, your sea anchor gives you time to rest, recover so that you can have abundant energy for the calculated risks and manageable challenges that are a necessary part of your fufilling life.