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                                                  Boat Races
Good morning dear reader & welcome to my world for another week. This last week Russian athletes have been in the news & I was particularly interested in our unlucky rowers who missed getting to Rio, the politics of which I missed somewhere. In addition, I was fortunate to attend a Chamber of Commerce luncheon where Renzie Hanham QSM was the speaker.
The New Zealand rowing team provided my inspiration this week however. As you know rowers cannot see where they are going. They face backwards & look towards their captain. He is the one who can see the course of the river & directs them accordingly. They simply just have to trust & follow instructions. Actually, this is exactly what keeps them in sync with each other; they are not worrying what is ahead, they are simply following the direction of someone who can see ahead.
This weird sports-metaphor is exactly how most business or organisations should be also. We are kept on track, & in harmony with each other by fixing our eyes on directions & instructions, even when we cannot see when the next twist or turn is coming. Interestingly, life in general, does not work when we are focused on those around us, or comparing ourselves with others.
No matter how strong they may appear, or how sorted their life looks, they are still working from the same point of view as we are. ‘Running the race’, pressing onwards toward our goals, only works when we have focus. Focus invariably comes from a vision. And a vision is a picture of ‘what can be’ rather than ‘what is’. Vision could be like what Albert Schweitzer had for Africa. Or the one which made William Wilberforce give up a life of privilege to eradicate slavery.
 Alternatively, a vision may be as simple as breaking a bad habit before it breaks you, overcoming a fear of technology & learning to use an iPad. Or even spending retirement years impacting the world around you instead of sitting in a rocking chair waiting to die. Thoreau said, ‘if you have built castles in the air… put foundations under them’.
But having a vision is not enough; there has to be a commitment to act on it. This is called a mission ~ & this involves setting specific, measureable steps to achieve it. Those steps are called goals, they establish a plan for accomplishing your mission & thus fulfilling your mission. You will generally have one mission, but many goals. And each goal you reach brings you a step closer to fulfilling your vision.
As Renzie Hanham said @ the Chamber of Commerce luncheon when discussing emotions. He told the story of two wolves, an Indian boy, & a bully @ school. The position was there are always two sides to everything. The Red corner when one is stressed, tired & feeling ’crap’; or the Blue corner when one has some certainty, stillness, is connected & present.  When the grandson enquires from his grandfather as to which one wins, his reply was: “The one you feed”.
So what now dear reader? The pressure is off, you do not need to know the full course or look to others to see how well your race is going. Just keep your eyes on the vision. I am sure this is what our other New Zealand rowers will be doing in a few weeks.
Thank you friends for taking the time to be with me once again & I hope my journey may encourage you also. Until next weekend, this is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson, with my best wishes & to you all, a splendid week.


Kenn Butler
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