I realize that right now most of us will not consider going on a cruise – anywhere. And justly so. We will wait for the pandemic to end and the coronavirus immunization to be in place first. I totally get it.
A few years ago, my husband and I took a cruise to Alaska. It was safe then. We were so excited! It was our first vacation without our children in quite some time. We flew to Seattle, and from there, the Holland America cruise line ship was awaiting us. We went through customs, medical checks, boarded the ship and were then escorted to our room. I was anticipating a fabulous experience!
After putting our luggage away, we decided to begin this experience by going to the gym area (because we knew how much food we would be eating in the next week and thus thought it wise to start with exercise! Aren’t we proactive?), The gym was located on the top level of the ship.
And indeed, the view was spectacular. As I was working my thighs, my gluteus, and my buttocks on the Peloton and getting my heart rate up (not to mention my sweat), my eyes gazed at the vast ocean in front of me. What a glorious sight – such serenity! However, about an hour into our workout, I sensed that the ship was turning around and going back to dock in Seattle!
What in the world was going on?
Shortly thereafter, we heard the captain announce over the loudspeakers that there was a fire in the belly of the ship. While they were not worried about canceling the trip, we needed to return and fix the internal problem before we could venture out for the 10-day cruise.
At that moment, as the ship was sailing back to safety, I was struck with the similarity between us human beings and the ship I was on.
How many times do we have a “fire in our bellies?” A “fire” that is not only evident to us, but, at some point, is apparent to everyone around us. I’m not talking about the kind of good fire that causes us determination, energy and perseverance to achieve what we want in life. I’m talking about a fire that, if not addressed, can burn others and ruin our entire selves. A fire that can consume us – the one I am talking about can sabotage our lives, our relationships, our careers.
This fire envelopes the negative attributes that prevent us from being the best humans. Each of us has this fire, and it can appear and feel differently. For some of us, it is anger, for others, it is control, and yet for others, it is judging, to name just a few. What is your negative fire? What endangers your relationship from being the best it can be?
I have seen these “fire-like” qualities play a significant role in relationships and in teams. I have seen these qualities ruin projects and seen the strife and walls erected. I have seen the collapse of teams because of this fire.
For the next 24 hours, all the passengers remained on board, enjoying food, exercise and hanging out as the ship docked in Seattle for repair.
The same thing happens to us as human beings. If we don’t take care of our internal fire, it can consume us. What is your particular fire? Are we even aware of our fire and do we want to fix it? Just as with the ship, when the fire was not apparent to anyone else but the workers, so it can be with us. We can hide what sabotages us, but at a certain point, it can become obvious that things need to be changed. When we don’t let the fire consume us, our light cannot just shine, but shine brightly and illuminate the path for us and others around us!
Having had the opportunity to work in an office for 16 years leading different committee teams, I came to realize the importance of each individual and contributor within the team!
In my motivational talks now as I travel (or zoom) around and help inspire different teams, I coined an acronym, T.E.A.M., or Together Everyone’s Attributes are Magnified. Whatever our attributes are when we interact with other people, they serve as our “anchors” and become stronger and more obvious. If we are kind, we will positively infect the room with the anchor of kindness. If we bring joy with us, most meetings will be pleasant. If we are gifted with wisdom, the rest of the team will rely upon us to continue providing that anchor during our meetings.
What are the values that serve as your anchor? What grounds you?
As you think about your values, I would like to offer you an “anchoring” thought process:
- Be present. Today will not happen again. Today is only 24 hours. How will you choose to be today? When you look back and review your day tomorrow, how would you want to feel, think, and observe about you today? Allow yourself to live that feeling and realization out for the rest of the day. Stay focused on your intention. Direct your actions in the same manner – think today about how you will regard yourself tomorrow!
- Think of an event you would like to see in the future. Envision it. Allow yourself to feel the excitement for the upcoming event. What will you be doing? Where will you be? How did you get there? Who is with you? How are you feeling about the event? Do you like the company that is around you? Did you treat them well along the way? Are they celebrating and happy with you? What was your “superpower” value used to get you there?
Doing this exercise will get you closer to envisioning the event and bringing it to fruition. It will assist you in thinking through your goals and ways of achieving them without regret. It will anchor the values you have been using, allowing you to assess their contribution to your success. Surround yourself today by people who want to see when you reach your destination so they can celebrate your success! Start planning your destination, putting together the various small pieces that will make this success a reality. Place one leg in front of another, one small step before a bigger step. Begin today and have hope, trust, and belief that your event will be successful.
- Reflect on a positive event that has happened in your past. Relive it. Recall the excitement you felt! Recall your behavior and what you liked about yourself. Who are the people that were present in that event? Remember what brought you emotional pleasure: Did you experience the positive qualities of creativity, collaboration, and empathy, as opposed to the injurious “flames” of the “bad fire” in your belly? Connect the dots between the present, future, and past.
Does this reflection bring you happiness? Are the steps you have built realistic? What help would you need to create your reality, and who can you ask for help? Who would be delighted to help you? What choices should you make to turn your plan into reality?
During this time, when the new post-pandemic era is settling in, we are also starting a new journey. Things will never be the same as they were before the pandemic, but perhaps starting anew can result in some positivity: As life is changing all around us, we are given the opportunity to rise to the challenge – an invitation for reflection and assessing the changes that are within our power and within our reach. Once we change, modify, and extinguish the hot, burning negative fire in our bellies, we can sail in the clear cold waters into the sunset!
Dorice Horenstein is a Jewish educator, turned speaker and author of Moments of The Heart: Four Relationships Everyone Should Have to Live Wholeheartedly. For more information, visit doricehorenstein.com or jewisheducationservices.com.