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Walter Sailing

Do small changes really make a big difference?

“Where are we going, Walt?” This is Simon, my friend and the much more experienced sailor. I’m at the helm of a yacht in the Mediterranean with a small group of friends. I’ve been given a heading to follow on the compass of 272, but have lost concentration for a few minutes and let the boat head towards 273. 

His experience tells him that we’re off course. Only a degree, so does that really matter? Yes, it does, he explains to me. If we’d continued in that direction, by the end of the day we’d end up miles away from where we wanted to be. Too far to recover in the same day. I correct my steering and mentally commit to be more diligent.

And if just one degree movement can make such a difference negatively, what about the positive effect? I know that it’s everyday habits that make the difference, not the big New Year resolutions which then get ignored about this time in January. Maybe just one degree in the right direction is a better approach.

What a life lesson for me this is right now. I’ve already decided that the time has come to make some changes this year. The time has come to get my act together and realise more of the potential that is there, as it is in all of us. 

And yet, my yacht experience tells me that it’s not so easy to commit to a direction and hold to it. Too easy to get distracted and wander off, at least for me. You may be more dedicated! 

So, time for me to make a personal commitment to some small changes now for larger benefits later. And what about the business? I have the feeling that here, too, it’s time for small changes now for big benefits in the future.   

And what about you? Are you good at creating change in your personal life as well as in your business? Maybe, like my friend Simon, you’re more experienced than I am, and have managed to make those necessary small changes a habit. If you’d like to share any of your experiences with change, then I’d love to listen. As with my sailing skills, I know I have more to learn!

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