Overcoming My First Challenge

 

TRANSCRIPT OF TEXT OF VIDEO. If you’d like to read along, the text is below.

If you want to build a dream, you may have many obstacles to overcome. I had a dream and a determination to live on Spruce Island, so I readied myself to move forward. When my husband, Les, gave me the Boston Whaler and taught me to use it, I was on my way to overcoming my first challenge, and embarked on a 20-year adventure that changed my life.

Success is not always measured by how much you make, but can be a benchmark of your achievements in other ways. Learning to meet challenges of Alaskan life helped me grow and enlarge my life experience a great deal. By working through the obstacles that arose, I witnessed the successful capturing of my dream.

When my husband, Les, and I separated, I made the decision to build a cabin on my claim on Spruce Island, ten miles by water from Kodiak. I knew it would not be an easy journey, and my first challenge would be simply finding a way to get there.

We had a 16-foot Boston Whaler that we’d used to explore the beaches and islands around Kodiak. Since Les planned to leave the state, he said I could have the skiff, and he would teach me to drive it.

Lessons ensued. Once I mastered the basics, I found it exhilarating to cruise down Narrow Strait at full throttle on a calm day. I had a great deal of respect for the ocean waters, and curtailed my speed to something much more sedate if the weather turned a bit gnarly.

Oh, I had a lot to learn. There’s quite a difference between being a passenger and running the boat. At least I’d overcome my early fear of zooming along in the skiff. Now, when I drove, more than once the Kodiak harbor patrol yelled at me to slow down as I approached the channel that lead to the boat harbor. “No Wake,” the big sign read. Oh, yes, that included me!

The first time I brought us back to the boat harbor, as we approached the ramp where we would haul the skiff out of the water, I realized that the craft had no brake. “How do I stop the boat?” I asked Les, with some anxiety. “Put her in reverse,” Les answered. Now, that in itself was a good lesson.

Quote: “Be more connected to your dreams than to your fears.”

I remember some time later, the first time I brought the skiff into town by myself. I reached the spot in the harbor where I’d tie up the boat, got out, and stood there on the dock, holding the bow line, puzzled. I knew I had to tie the boat to the heavy timber railing that ran along the edge of the boardwalk, but I had no idea what kind of knot to use.

So I hesitated. Just then, a fisherman came along the boardwalk, headed for the foot ramp. “Excuse me — Could you show me how to tie this boat up?” I asked.

His mother raised him well. He didn’t laugh or make any derogatory comment. He simply showed me how to tie it. I thanked him gratefully, and thought, “Another valuable lesson.”

Quote: “Being on a boat that’s moving through the water, it’s so clear. Everything falls into place in terms of what’s important and what’s not.” (James Taylor)

During the transition to life on Spruce Island and for all the years I lived there, the skiff became an essential piece of equipment. It was at once my station wagon, freight carrier, and passenger bus.

Once on the island, I installed a running line with the help of Ouzinkie friends, so I could tie the boat and pull it out away from shore until the next time I needed it.

I used the running line until winter storms threatened. Then, with the help of rollers of small, smooth logs, a winch, and a couple of helpers, we pulled the skiff out for the winter.

Quote: “As soon as I get on my boat, something inside me changes. Then I really feel what living is.” (Laura Dekker)

Until we got the cabin built, we stayed in the empty log house on the beach at Eskimo Cove, over the hill and the closest thing we had to “next door.” On one early trip, we brought a load of freight and my 13-year-old son and the 12-year-old daughter of visiting friends. Another friend and I went back to town to get the adults, leaving the two youngsters alone at the log house.

When we got out on the water, we found the wind had picked up. Fortunately, we wore survival suits on that trip, and were glad we did. They kept us quite warm.

The water was rough. We traveled with our hearts in our mouth. Like the old Norwegian fisherman said, “Vell, ve can’t turn around, so ve might as vell keep going forward.” For the entire journey, we were accompanied by some killer whales who swam beside our craft. Killer whales, or orcas, do not kill people, in spite of the name. I’ve often wondered if they would have tried to rescue us if we’d capsized.

When we reached Kodiak, we realized it was too rough to return that night, so we waited. Two days later, the weather finally settled down. It had turned into quite an adventure for David and his young friend, but they survived nicely. The wood stove kept the house warm and we’d left plenty of food.

I went to Anchorage for a short trip during those early days. I went to the Salvation Army store and found a sealskin parka with a wolverine ruff and quilted liner. The fur was rubbed off the elbows, but the rest of the coat was in fine shape. The price, $150.00, made me chuckle. A new sealskin parka costs at least $1,500. I thought the coat would make an excellent skiff coat, so took it to the cashier.

“Coats are half price today, so you can have it for $75.00,” she said. I was elated. It turned out to be the warmest coat I’d ever owned.

With that wolverine ruff pulled forward, I could spray us liberally with water during travel, and I never got wet. The passengers were not always so lucky. David used to like to yell, “Woman driver.” when I soaked us well.

After lots of practice, I finally felt confident enough to take the skiff to town by myself. I enjoyed sailing into the boat harbor, waving to all the handsome fishermen working on their gear.

Quote: “The human spirit is like an elastic band. The more you stretch, the greater your capacity.” (Bideme Mark-Mordi)

Can you see the ways in which this story can teach you helpful lessons for your online business? I had challenges to meet. I wanted to move to Spruce Island, but had to find a way to get there, and to travel back and forth. Thus, I faced my first challenge in learning how to drive the skiff.

Though I’d become used to riding in a skiff by then, running it was another matter. It forced me to move far out of my comfort zone. In your business experience, as you move forward, you may find that leaving your comfort zone, or getting out of your box, becomes necessary if you wish to continue to progress.

Moving to Spruce Island seemed to me to be like stepping off the end of the earth. I had a burning desire to go there to build my dream, and did not intend to let anything stand in my way. In your business, you need to do the same. Search yourself and find the one thing you have a burning desire to accomplish, set your sights on that, and move forward.

I had to divide my goal of a home and a successful life on Spruce Island into little pieces small enough that I could accomplish them, one at a time. I stayed focused on the tasks of learning to run the boat, building my cabin, and establishing my place in the village. These things took time and patience.

However, I reached success. The lessons I learned and my willingness to do whatever I found necessary to reach my goal served me well. When we completed the cabin and I moved to Spruce Island to stay, I lived in the house I’d built with the help of friends for 20 years. I had a dream and pursued it until it became reality. You can do the same.

QUOTES

  • “Instead of thinking outside of the box, get rid of the box.”
  • “Leaving your comfort zone is a must if you wish to grow.”
  • “Step so far out of your comfort zone that you forget how to get back.”
  • “Be more committed to your dreams than to your fears.”

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