Change Your Life By Finding Someone to Help You Paddle

This is the second lesson garnered from remarks by Naval Adm. William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations:

“And while these lessons were learned during my time in the military, I can assure you that it matters not whether you ever served a day in uniform. It matters not your gender, your ethnic or religious background, your orientation, or your social status. Our struggles in this world are similar and the lessons to overcome those struggles and to move forward—changing ourselves and the world around us—will apply equally to all. During SEAL training the students are broken down into boat crews.

Each crew is seven students—three on each side of a small rubber boat and one coxswain to help guide the dingy.Every day your boat crew forms up on the beach and is instructed to get through the surf zone and paddle several miles down the coast. In the winter, the surf off San Diego can get to be 8 to 10 feet high and it is exceedingly difficult to paddle through the plunging surf unless everyone digs in. Every paddle must be synchronized to the stroke count of the coxswain.  Everyone must exert equal effort or the boat will turn against the wave and be unceremoniously tossed back on the beach.For the boat to make it to its destination, everyone must paddle.

You can’t change the world alone—you will need some help— and to truly get from your starting point to your destination takes friends, colleagues, the good will of strangers and a strong coxswain to guide them. If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.

Friends, in the business world and in your private life this translates into collaboration, respect and integrity. When there is a meeting--be on time. When someone asks you for help--help! When you have an off day and don’t feel like pulling your weight--pull anyway. Why? Because you will feel better and you will become the change you want to see in the world.

About the Author

Val has written several books published by McGraw-Hill including: The Winner’s Attitude, Super Service 1st & 2nd editions, The Customer Service Manager’s Toolkit, OPEN Question Selling and Business Improv.

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