To build your career: think like an entrepreneur

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Q: Mick, Bosun, 29:

“I’ve been in yachting for 5 years now and I want to progress from Bosun to Chief Officer and ultimately Captain one day. Unfortunately, my boat is one of those brilliant ones where no-one wants to leave. The pay is good, the crew are great and the owner’s decent too! I know how rare it is to get all three and I’ve heard a few horror stories about some of the boats out there. I’ve been on this one since day 1 of my yachting career and I know I’m on a good wicket. My brain tells me to go but my heart tells me to stay. What should I do?”

A: The Crew Coach:

Yours is one of those stories where the very thing that has made your yachting experience great is now the thing holding you back. Who would have thought a great boat would get in the way of your career? But let’s be frank: it is getting in the way of your career.

Longevity is fantastic…until it starts working against you. Sometimes it helps to step outside yachting and think about ‘real world’ careers to get some perspective. When it comes to a yachting career, if you want to make it to the top and be a great Captain when you get there, you need to think like an entrepreneur.

Successful entrepreneurs know their field. One of the downsides to staying on the one boat long-term means that you only know how things are done on your yacht- which makes your field of experience quite narrow.
Entrepreneurs go outside their comfort zone. To hone what you’re truly good at, and define areas for development, you need to put yourself in lots of different and challenging situations. This means different boat builds, different crew, different owners and different systems. You’re no doubt very comfortable, but a new boat will present the challenges you need in order to grow.
Entrepreneurs embrace change. You fear that things won’t be as good on your next boat, and admittedly it sounds like you’ve got a pretty special boat! But you don’t know what else is out there. You are in a really strong position with that wonderful longevity to find a good position. Use your network and take your time to find a yacht that suits your career and personal wish list and do your homework to find out what a yacht is really like to work on before accepting any offers.
Entrepreneurs challenge their fears. You already know that there’s no promotion for years, which means your career will stall. Why hold yourself back- from promotion, from a higher salary, from new challenges? Perhaps it’s fear getting in the way a little as well?
Entrepreneurs accept that things might not go according to plan. Yes, it’s possible that your next boat won’t be as good a fit as your current one but you will learn from every single experience, good and bad. You can’t know until you try, and there’s every chance it will be a wonderful adventure. Remember, every move up is a step towards the day where you are a Captain with your own crew and you can then create the kind of boat you’re on now… the one that no-one wants to leave.
Above all, entrepreneurs make difficult decisions, and then back themselves.
Pardon the blatant cliché but there’s plenty more boats in the sea! If it doesn’t work out you will deal with it and move on – it won’t be the end of the world! Remember this great quote: “I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.” Lucille Ball.

What do you think? Stay or go? Share your comments in the box below.

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Alison Rentoul

Alison Rentoul

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