Are You Comfortable? That’s Not Good

PHOTO: Craig Adderley/Pexels

I’m regularly asked to speak before audiences of fellow entrepreneurs and other professionals. Some of them are good friends and colleagues within the yachting industry, while others are from varied walks of life. Regardless, my talks all share a common theme: growing and bettering yourself as a professional. We all can and should continue to learn new things no matter how long we’ve been practicing our craft. In fact, I firmly believe that the moment you think you know it all is the moment you’ve signed your own career’s death certificate.

This week, I’ve been working on my latest speech, for the U.S. Superyacht Association (USSA). For the past several years, I’ve served as the chairperson for the USSA’s annual Superyacht Summit, a daylong symposium that I like to call “bootcamp for yachting professionals.” Through a number of interactive sessions, the Summit makes executives take a hard look at how they’re marketing their companies, challenges them to look at their core activities in a new light, and more. I’m proud to say there’s nothing like this conference in all of yachting. Even so, I still need to convince USSA members to come to the Summit each year; no resting on the laurels! So, in writing my speech, I drew inspiration from this post from August, and from the Summit’s goal of pushing industry professionals to a higher level of achievement.

The theme: If you’re comfortable, that’s not good. In fact, the moment I take the microphone, I’m going to ask everyone, “How are you today? Are you well? Are you comfortable?” knowing full well I’ll get a few nods of affirmation… to which I’ll immediately respond, “That’s no good. Everyone, stand up!”

Here’s a peek into the crux of the speech:

I know what some of you are thinking right now, because I can see it on your faces: “What is she doing?! Why did she make me stand up?! I was perfectly comfortable!” But, let me ask you this: Are you OK right now? Did the world as we know it suddenly spin off its axis and come to an end? No.

As a matter of fact, I noticed a few of you having moments of discovery. You saw a colleague across the room who you hadn’t seen when you walked in… you started speaking with people at your table or your neighboring table, who you hadn’t spoken with yet. You gained a perspective that you wouldn’t have had, and identified and seized an opportunity that you wouldn’t have had, if you hadn’t gotten “uncomfortable.”

That is the very foundation of the Superyacht Summit. You are never going to achieve anything if you stay comfortable.

The fact that you are all sitting in this room right now proves that you understand this. Many of you quit a job to start your own company, or took a leap of faith to go from being yacht captains and crew to being different kinds of yachting professionals, or you even came from a completely different industry to pave a new path in yachting.

I can’t give away too much more of the speech, since some of you might be sitting in that room that day. But, I will leave you with the last line—which happens to be the greatest piece of advice I have ever received:

Never, ever get too comfortable.

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