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Crew Coach: Preconceptions are powerful indicator of outcome

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Crew Coach: by Capt. Rob Gannon

I know a captain who loves to set up preconceived notions and outcomes in his head. He’s definitely not a law-of-attraction believer, but he is participating in that attraction process whether he accepts it or not. Whatever we give more energy to stays alive in our minds, so what kind of energy do we want to give it? It will make a difference. 

I’m sure many of you have seen examples of this in your own lives; I know I have. So we may want to be conscious with how we set things up in our thoughts and beliefs.

Have you ever been around someone who loves to predict how things are going to go? They are so sure a situation – be it a charter or charter guest, or a crew relationship, or anything really – is going to go poorly, that they invest themselves in that outcome. Then typically, they have a hard time with the situation and it is all validated for them. But did their attitude, thoughts and beliefs contribute to the experience? Let me answer that: Of course it did.

We have got to be careful with how we set the table. Why set it up for unpleasant, unproductive and unsatisfying results? Even if this whole concept seems to be hogwash to you, it might be worth it to give it a look and experiment a little with it. If the expression “attitude is everything” resonates, well, this is all part of that. 

Preconceived thoughts and beliefs will develop an attitude, so the question is: What kind of attitude serves us best? I think we all know the answer to that, but we sometimes work against that best desired experience or result.

Thoughts can be a powerful thing. Repetitive, habitual, negative thoughts can be a hurricane that engulfs a situation or experience. Conversely, healthy open thinking with no pre-judgment is the strong high-pressure system that steers the storm away from us and out to sea. 

Isn’t it interesting when two people can share an experience and come away with two different viewpoints and feelings about it? Where does that come from? Why is that? Well, many times it comes from the setup thoughts, from what the attitude was going in.

The formula goes like this: Thoughts and attitude before an experience + reactions during the experience = perception of the experience. 

The reaction part of the equation is the other important piece. There are those who have a doomsday, end-of-the-world reaction to challenges, and there are those who accept and go about dealing with what is. What is so interesting and powerful is that we have control over the attitude and perceptions. We can’t control what happens around us, but we can control how we react to and accept it. 

I realize that in the middle of a challenging situation there can be frustration and annoyance, but those reactions must be set aside so we can better move forward. The clearest thinking usually does not rise out of frustration and anger. If let it settle and pass, we can get about the business of choosing the best path forward.

We can save ourselves a lot of angst, a lot of grief, and a lot of just feeling bad by not setting ourselves up for it in the first place. When we can catch ourselves and correct negative pre-judgment, we are on the right track. If the attitude is struggling, we are going to struggle. Everything gets a little harder, and it’s no coincidence we may feel our overall energy being taxed. Mind and body are  connected, all one unit. 

The beauty is that we can make this work for us by staying conscious and aware of how we are looking at things. A spiritual teacher of mine liked to say, “Feeling better is just a thought away.” So we need to shift to that better-feeling thought when we catch ourselves sailing off course and towards bad weather. Like most things, the more we do it, the better we get at it.

Enjoy the voyage.

Capt. Rob Gannon is a 30-year licensed captain and certified life and wellness coach (yachtcrewcoach.com). Comments are welcome below.

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