Crew Coach: by Capt. Rob Gannon
Working with people over the past decade as a personal coach, the concept of purpose arises quite often. People are interested in understanding, finding and living their true purpose. I became aware and interested in this some 30 years ago, as I wanted to understand my own journey better.
The learning around this subject hasn’t stopped and I’m always pleased to share what I have learned with those seeking more understanding of this subject. Many books have been filled with inspired concepts regarding purpose. I hope that in this brief column I can share a bit to provide another tool for navigating this journey of life we are all sharing.
In my work coaching professionals in the yachting industry, the topic of purpose often comes up. People in this industry, as well as many others, begin to wonder if this is what they were really meant to do. They may feel like there is something else calling, it just may not be quite clear yet what that is. This is all healthy and good and quite normal.
What needs to be understood, however, is that this focus is really only one half of the purpose field. What we do for our profession, where we live, what we have – these fall under the area of outer purpose. We set goals and form a plan to get somewhere, and that’s all good – but the real gold comes from the often overlooked inner purpose.
I think most of us know that the outer things – wealth, status, shiny things – don’t equal happiness or inner joy. Working as crew on a yacht certainly gives us a front row seat to proof of this. Are all the wealthy people who own and charter megayachts happy and emotionally healthy? Some may be, but I think we see many who are wrapped up in petty grievances and focusing on too many outer things that create a stormy sea of their own making.
They can leave us wondering why, with all they “have,” they appear so miserable. Well, it’s usually because the inner purpose, the inner guiding compass, has been buried. It’s not dead, because it is life itself – but it’s buried, often under judgments, victimhood and ego.
In 1997, a bestselling book emerged in the personal growth area. “The Power of Now,” by Eckhart Tolle, awakened and introduced many to the workings of our inner world. He shares brilliantly how we can tap into this inner power we all possess and use it to guide our lives. Not all of it is easy to do, but understanding what negatively affects our inner guidance system is a great starting point.
Tolle goes into two areas that deeply hinder a positive and joyful outlook on life: acceptance of what is, and surrender. I think these two can be tough for all of us. Imagine that unhappy millionaire on the yacht – how do you think he or she is doing with acceptance and surrender? Probably not very well.
The concept of surrender is really foreign and misunderstood by many. Tolle puts it this way: To some people surrender may have negative connotations, implying defeat, giving up, failing to rise to the challenges of life, and so on. True surrender, however, is something entirely different. Surrender is the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to, rather than opposing, the flow of life.
It does not mean that on the outer level you cannot take action and change the situation. In fact, it is not the overall situation that you need to accept when you surrender, but just the tiny segment called the “Now.”
Through nonresistance, the quality of your consciousness – and therefore, the quality of whatever you are doing or creating – is enhanced immeasurably. The results will then look after themselves and reflect that quality. We could call this “surrendered action.”
So, we have to acknowledge our resistance, how it is affecting us and how our minds can turn a situation or an outlook on life toward the negative. It’s inner work and not always easy, and that’s exactly why so many of us neglect and avoid it. The consequence of this avoidance however can be quite heavy. We may not understand why we feel so miserable at times and unknowingly may share a trait with that miserable millionaire on the yacht. We are disconnected from our inner purpose.
Enjoy the voyage.
Capt. Rob Gannon is a 30-year licensed captain and certified life and wellness coach (yachtcrewcoach.com). Comments are welcome below.