Crew Coach: by Capt. Rob Gannon
Making our way through life with a quiet, healthy self-confidence can be a nice way to go. Trying to steamroll and bark our way through with arrogance and ego usually leads to a bumpy ride, filled with turbulent air and stormy seas. A cool thing about moving along this journey of life is that, if we observe and pay attention, examples of both good and not so good methods, attitudes and approaches are presented to us all the time and we can learn from both.
So, where does a healthy self-confidence come from? Can it come from genetics? Have you ever seen a little kid grow up who, from a very early stage, demonstrated a self-confident, almost fearless approach to life? I have, and it’s really something fascinating to see. They have not given way to fear and move from one new experience to the next with curiosity and an amazing amount of youthful exuberance.
Contrast that with the child who seems to be afraid of everything. Where did that come from? Sometimes it remains a mystery to the parents. Why is our child afraid of everything?
Sometimes we can see a clear pattern from the get-go, but I believe more often a healthy self-confidence is developed. We develop areas in our lives that we strengthen, have some wins, some good outcomes, and that builds a belief that we can do this. We inhabit a space that doesn’t allow the inaccurate doubts and fears to dictate our feelings. We can accomplish a lot from this space. It does not mean everything always goes the way we want or expect. We can all get knocked down, but self-confidence will help us dust ourselves off and move forward.
One of the saddest things to see is someone who has had their confidence knocked out of them. It can be a series of events over years, maybe decades, that have left them dead in the water. Self-confidence is the wind for their sails or the fuel for their engine, and they just can’t find it anywhere. This can be a long road back, but back we must come, step by step.
So, I’ve been talking about a healthy self-confidence; where this gets unhealthy is when it morphs into arrogance and an egocentric mindset. This state of being really has no connection to self-confidence – on the contrary, it’s usually a mask worn on the outside to cover up what’s on the inside. Often what’s inside is self-doubt, fear and a poor self-esteem, which must never be revealed.
Think about it, why else the need for such a personality? What’s this need to be right all the time and put others down? What beast is that feeding? A person with this type of approach to life usually has conflicts following them like a shadow. Like a reliable companion right over their shoulder.
Now let’s look at these two differing personalities as they take on a new situation in life, say, starting as a new crew member on a yacht. First up is our healthy, self-confident one. He or she comes in, meets everyone and seems professional, approachable and ready to jump in. They demonstrate a work ethic, yet have an ease and a good way about them. No one is feeling any bad vibes or weirdness from them. This seems like it’s going to work. Over time, again and again, this quiet confidence shows. Other crew may even want to develop some of this in themselves.
Now here comes our cocky, entitled, arrogant one. Chances are, in the first five minutes someone, if not more than one person, senses something, gets a vibe. Am I right, yachties? I know some of you have been there. Right off the bat, something is said or an attitude displayed and the red flags are up. Things may never get quite right. They end up taking credit for things, complaining about others, pushing buttons and sowing division in the once-tight crew. As I stated earlier, the examples are presented to us all the time.
From this description and example I’ve presented here, I think it’s clear which approach to life and to working and dealing with others is the healthy, beneficial one.
If you feel your self-confidence needs some work, keep working on it. It can be built up. If you might be one of the arrogant ones, it may be time to consider another course before you run aground again.
Enjoy the voyage.
Capt. Rob Gannon is a 30-year licensed captain and certified life and wellness coach (yachtcrewcoach.com). Comments at welcome below.