Management Services Northwest

Adjust the Sails

July 8, 2012

As typical for the Pacific Northwest summer comes around the 4th of July, and I had the opportunity to spend a few glorious days this week in the San Juan Islands.  The sky was blue, the sun was warm, and there was just enough of a breeze to make everyone happy.   It was enjoyable to watch the myriad of boats around us, including sailboats all decked out for the Holiday – a highlight being one sporting a huge sail with the design of the American flag.

Since I have been sharing leadership insights and strategies for positive change, the sailboats reminded me of a great quote I read recently by John Maxwell as follows:

“The pessimist complains about the wind.  The optimist expects it to change.  The leader adjusts the sails.”

This quote struck me as I consider myself an optimist.  I strive to choose the right attitude and best perspective in all circumstances.  But like the optimist in this quote, I realize that sometimes I expect things to change for the better, and “hope for the best”, and but don’t take any action.  Wouldn’t it be better that I would be an optimist, but also make changes and adjustments as I can to ensure a positive outcome?If the wind is the unforeseen troubles that come our way, how are we reacting to them?  Think of a recent difficulty you faced at work or at home – perhaps a problem with a client or co worker, a financial issue, or a disagreement with a friend.  It may be a problem you got yourself into, or it may be something you had no control over.  Either way, did you complain about it or did you choose a positive perspective?  Was there anything you could do to make a difference?  Often times it is easier to do nothing, than to take on the hard work of fixing a situation that has us floundering.

Next time an unexpected wind comes our way, let’s be prepared to take action.  Most of the time there is something we can do to help the situation, we just need a little courage to adjust the sails.


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