Last week was the annual Fort Lauderdale to Key West yacht race. It is 168 miles of open ocean racing for professional and amateur sailboats. We have participated in our boat, Ocean Dancer, 6 of the past 7 years. We have finished 2nd, third and “out of the
money” each time…until this year when we won. It was a triumph of determination for a crew that sails only a handful of times each year. It was a conquest of fear for me.
Throughout my life, I have feared the water. I never learned to swim, I avoided pools, lakes and certainly the ocean. My drive to be part of a team and enjoy the camaraderie, pushed me to sail. I didn’t tell anyone about my fear of water or not knowing how to swim. Once the skipper found out, he required me to learn to swim before I could sail again.
So, at age 53, I took my lessons and learned to swim.
In order to do well in this race, let alone win it, you must sail the boat to its limits, throughout the day and night and day, in scary conditions. For 21 hours and 8 minutes (our total elapsed time in the race), you are working the boat to extract as much speed as possible. In winds of 25 knots (about 30 mph) and gusts of 35 knots, waves between 6 and 10 feet, throughout the day and throughout the night, it is scary.
But conquering these fears, gives the confidence to conquer other fears that lie ahead. Fears of professional success, longevity and health, loving relationships…all become more tamed.
Choose a lifetime fear. Conquer it. Tame the others.