Boat show boredom, exhaustion, chance to practice acceptance

Oct 23, 2014 by Rob Gannon

The end of October brings the global yacht industry together for the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. It’s quite a display with the glistening megayachts all lined up stern-to along the docks.

Then there are the crews, those smiling faces, standing by, eagerly awaiting the masses and ready to answer any and all questions.

OK, let’s take off the rose-colored glasses. Boat shows are a lot of work for captains and crew, and can be stressful, with an odd mix of boring and exhausting going on at the same time.

Consider it an opportunity to practice acceptance.

In the yachting world as in many professions we are often placed in circumstances we may be less than thrilled about. Often, these scenarios fall under the part-of-the-job category. Sure, you get through it, but it’s how you get through it that matters. Acceptance is key.

Acceptance is a tool to sharpen, and to remember that it is always in your toolbox of life skills. I like to look at acceptance as a place where things shift. When there is acceptance, your thoughts and attitude shift more to the positive side of things and, consequently, a more positive experience follows.

Interesting how that happens isn’t it? It sounds pretty simple and straightforward but it can sometimes be so hard to do. The thing you have to do is stop fighting the reality around you.

Years ago, I worked with a guy who, whenever I had an issue with something, would say, “it is what it is.” That little phrase started to drive me crazy until finally I started to get it. It’s just another way of asking for some acceptance of the situation.

While I still don’t like that phrase much, I get it, and when delivered well, can initiate that shift in perception and attitude I mentioned earlier.

We can complain, rant and pout about what is going on around us, or we can accept it for what it is and get on with life. You can see which way makes for an easier time.

Part of what makes acceptance challenging is that it seems like a passive state, but it really isn’t. There is quite a bit of power and energy in it. The energy that comes when acceptance shifts our attitude is way greater and stronger than the negative complaining energy. All you have to do is try this out for yourself and you will see and feel what I’m talking about.

Sometimes in life there are circumstances that may be deemed “unacceptable“ to us. Certainly abuse — whether verbal or physical — falls into this category. Our personal safety is always first and any situation that threatens or jeopardizes that must be dealt with. In that kind of a situation, you take action to take care of yourself.

But even with that being said, we still want to recognize the importance of acceptance of what has already happened. William James, often called the father of American psychology, put it this way: “Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.”

So even with unfortunate, tough experiences, moving on in a healthy way can be stimulated by acceptance.

Let me be clear: acceptance is not condoning or agreeing with certain harmful actions of others. What it does is help you move forward. When you don’t accept it, you fight it, deny it, bury it. None of those will serve you as well moving forward.

This concept of acceptance is just one of many skills for us to master to enjoy more of our lives. As a coach, I work with people all the time around the principles of feeling good and moving forward. Each of us has the power to change how we feel in any moment, and to change how we experience what is happening. Once we understand that — and never forget it — we hold the key, the golden ticket to life.

Don’t forget that we also have the power to make ourselves miserable, and we can do it without anyone’s help, although blaming others is part of that miserable playbook.

So you’re working a boat show. Maybe you don’t really want to be there but you’re there, so how are you going to roll with it? I suggest making the most of it. Engage in conversation with folks, laugh, learn, and take it all in. It’s your choice. Remember, it is what it is.

Enjoy the voyage.


Rob Gannon is a 25-year licensed captain and certified life and wellness coach. He offers free sample coaching sessions and can be reached at Comments are welcome at