Monday, January 21, 2013

Mooring Lines

By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, January 21, 2013

Visualize if you will, a sleek, brilliant white U. S. Coast Guard Cutter sitting at the pier.  Running at a diagonal on the bow are two stripes, one red, one blue commonly referred to as racing stripes.  With only one look you can immediately tell this vessel was made to run.  Yet it sits tied up to the pier and held in place by mooring lines.

Take a look at the following diagram.  You can see that there could be as many as six such mooring lines keeping the cutter from drifting away from the pier.  Mooring lines have been used for hundreds of years to keep ships in place.  It is not until the Skipper orders that all mooring lines be “taken in” that the Cutter can engage in its intended purpose – saving life.

The Skipper knows what must be done; it is the BIG WHY for his existence.  People are in trouble and the Skipper knows approximately where they are.  As the Skipper carefully maneuvers the Cutter away from the pier and out beyond the breakwalls, he orders the massive well tuned engines to come up to full speed.  As the controllers are pushed forward the stern sinks a bit into the water and the bow comes out of the water as the Cutter begins to cut through the waves on a heading that will take the Cutter on the most direct course to the vessel and sailors in distress.  The Skipper also knows that waves, tides and wind will do everything within their power to cause the Cutter to veer off course and constant course corrections are given until the Cutter arrives on scene.  That is when the crew goes into action to secure the stricken vessel and retrieves the distressed sailors and returns safely to port with vessel and crew.

We are all like the Coast Guard Cutter are we not?  Being safe means we are moored to our piers by the strongest of mooring lines but with different names.

  • Doubt
  • Ego
  • Failure
  • The Unknown
  • The What If’s
  • Fear

We all know, or should know, where we want to go.  If you have no idea what your desired outcome is to be, then there is no reason to remove the mooring lines that are keeping you from arriving at an undetermined destination.  If you know what the BIG WHY in your life is, you know what you must do – remove the mooring lines keeping you from getting there! 

It starts with removing the mooring lines of doubt, ego, failure, the unknown, the what if’s and fear from your life.  Failure to remove these will prevent you from even leaving the pier let alone getting to where you want to go.

Doubt:   We all have doubts of some kind.  We doubt we can safely make the trip.  We doubt that our efforts will be appreciated.  We doubt that we can do the job.  We doubt that our mission is realistic.  You can add your own doubts as you perceive them to be.  But are they real?

Ego; a huge mooring line:  We become afraid of what others may think of us.  As Ethel Barrett suggests, “we would worry less about what others think of us if realized how seldom they do (think of us).”  Ego can drive some people forward and hold back others.  Know your ego and its affect on your life.  Is what you believe real?

Failure:  If we never failed at anything, we never really tried at anything.  Failure is a fact of life; we will fail from time to time.  Dr. John Maxwell wrote in “Failing Forward”  that it is all about the process of failing and then learning from the failure and moving on to greater achievements because of experiencing failure in our lives.  Why fear something that ultimately can help us achieve great things?   Are your thoughts of failure real?

The unknown:  Who knows anything for certain?  When the Cutter set sail, there were unknowns that could crop up at any time during the mission.  When you have a plan; when you work the plan; when you prepare for obstacles; when you train and practice; when you constantly move forward; you tend to get to where you want to go in spite of any unknowns that may appear in your path.  Are your unknowns real?

The “what if’s”:  How many times have you asked yourself and others, what if this happens?  What if that happens?  What if’s will cause you to never take in your mooring lines.  There will always be what if’s that will hold you back as long as you permit them to fester in your mind.  There are other what if’s that are far more healthy like what if I succeed?  What if I exceed my goals?  What if I find even better choices that I can take?  It’s a mindset of success; not failure.  Are your what if’s real?

Fear:  The largest mooring line of all.  Fear will cause us to never leave the pier.  It will also cause us never to reach our potential.  F.E.A.R; False Expectations Appearing Real.  There is a wonderful book written by Susan Jeffers, Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway!  That pretty much sums up fear; just do it.  Most of our fears never materialize yet they tend to cause us to freeze in our tracks.  Are your fears real?

Hopefully the image of massive mooring lines keeping the Cutter from sailing will enable you to visualize the various types of self-imposed mooring lines that are keeping you tied safely to the pier.  As a ship was not built to be tied to a pier, you were not created to be tied to whatever is holding you back most of which as stated are self-imposed.  Why would anyone do that to themselves?

I believe we do it to ourselves because we are simply unaware.  Being aware is to a person as having fuel in the tank is to a Cutter; it makes both go!  Being unaware will cause you to sit and wonder why everyone else is experiencing such success and you are not.  If you are unaware of what is holding you back, you have no idea of what it will take to move your forward and therefore take no action to change.

The first order of business should be self-analysis.  Set time aside to literally sit and think; something so few of us ever do.  Make a list of what IS holding you back from the success you desire.  Then, as Byron Katie writes about, ask these vitally important questions.






“There are no new stressful thoughts; they are all recycled.”  Byron Katie