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Captain Ernie, Onboard True North KC-87 St. Maarten in the Caribbean doing a America’s Cup style 2 boat sailing race; 12-Metre Regatta.
As with most things that impact us personally, often we are the best judge for ourselves.  Especially on matters that require from us only a quick review of our preferences; what we like, may not like, and capacity to judge when things are going well or not, and how we feel about this status.

Do you feel energetic most days?  Yes/No

What is your “general” motivation level on a scale of  1 – 10?

It’s helpful before starting any new project to ask yourself a few basic questions to gauge your motivation to do it.  The “vested interest” as it were.


In the field of Psychology its termed Motivational Interviewing.  Questions which can be used in initial interviews to obtain a window into how motivated an individual is, and their willingness to participate in treatment.

Once a patient is in treatment, this type of information gathered, can be used at appropriate times later to further motivate a person; even offer them more insight into their personal dilemmas to motivate patients throughout the process.

It provides “the reasons why” we are doing something to motivate us to continue and even work harder at it.

This “technique,” is applicable here too for goal setting.

When you’re completing important short-term or long-term goals it’s always helpful to periodically be remained as to “why” you’re doing it in the first place to keep you going.  With time, one’s level of commitment may remain the same, yet one’s motivation level to keep going often requires help to stay motivated.


How to motivate yourself


  1.  Think about the achievements in your life.  What personal skills did it take to accomplish those?

2.  Examine your strengths to understand what you can build on.

3.  Determine what other people see as your strengths and key capabilities.

4.  Set achievable goals for yourself, work to achieve them, and enjoy the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from being successful.  Incremental achievements made along the way are also viewed as making “a successful accomplishment” because it brings you closer to your goal, bit-by-bit.

5.  Seek support from those who are also focused on this if needed to keep you accountable and encouraged.  Gaining momentum on goals is a fickle state to be in.  It’s capricious.  Changeable and easily altered unless you have someone to urge you to “stay the course” if it is a goal you really are committed to.


“Anyone who needs three tries to find their authentic self might not have a good map of the territory.”    ——   John Dickerson


Onboard True North KC-87 St. Maarten in the Caribbean doing a America’s Cup style 2 boat sailing race; 12-Metre Regatta.


Onboard True North KC-87 St. Maarten in the Caribbean doing a America’s Cup style 2 boat sailing race; 12-Metre Regatta.


A personal story…  On learning something new!

The Learning Curve

Along the way, I learned another personal lesson about “The Learning Curve” during my first regatta sailing race in St. Maarten March 2015.

Captain, I ask “Do we need more wind for the sails?  We’re behind in the race.  If we don’t pull ahead now, will we still have enough time to win?”

Captain Ernie’s response was quick so we as a team could make the necessary corrections.

“Adjust the mainsail”  said the Captain.

“We need to go faster” he adds.  “Get a grip on that line and loosen the winch up a bit.  15 turns ought to do it.”

I had to turn swiftly this large metal structure holding the ropes to loosen the lines to give the main sail more expansion to catch the wind.  There were moving parts and a proper way to do it just right and not get my fingers caught in this quick moving spinning rig called a winch.


My thoughts were fixed on not giving the sail too much slack too quickly because if done incorrectly it would do the opposite like slow us down to a dead stall.


My fingers I thought could get broken if stuck between the winch; a steel drum cylinder, and the lines.  It happen so quickly the worries I had before just five minutes ago of being thrown overboard, faded.  Now there was this to worry about too.

Meanwhile, in front of me was a team of four grinders quickly churning at the winches; rotating them around and around turning hand over hand in a circular motion to make the sail move up or down.

“They man the winches that reel in all the sheets and halyards, putting immense stress on their bodies during any sail hoist, tack or gybe.”

They also “spend long periods of inactivity punctuated by sudden explosive bursts of energy.”


Captain Ernie was urging them to turn faster.   Finally, there were other crew members at the bow also working vigorously at their assignments.

Onboard True North KC-87 St. Maarten in the Caribbean doing a America’s Cup style 2 boat sailing race; 12-Metre Regatta.


The 12-Metre racing sail boat ”True North” KC-87 was fast and leans sharply on its side so no matter how tight you hold on when it leans one could easily just slide off the side.  One side of the boat always seemed to be nearly immersed in the water.  When the boat leans to one side you feel like you’ll just slip off the side into the water if it wasn’t for the roped railing.  Everything was fast moving, but this was not the time to worry because everyone in front of me was working just as hard at their assigned task too.

[ For the unit of measurement equaling  approximately 12-Metre =  39.3701 Feet.  Meter is the American spelling, and “Metre” is preferred everywhere else.]



Once things calmed down a bit, and the heavy winds subsided, our team mates chatted about what we had just experienced, where we had all travelled from to take part in the race at hand, and chatting about where we were in the race as well as the beauty that surrounded us.

St. Maarten in the Caribbean doing a America’s Cup style 2 boat sailing race; 12-Metre Regatta.    If you have never been to St. Maarten it’s a beautiful place.

When I ask Captain Ernie “what do the locals call the color of the water here?”   He replied “blue.”   As you can see here, the color of the water is certainly much more than that.

To me it resembled the color of a Blue Apatite gem.

Maybe when you live in a picaresque paradise every day you don’t appreciate the true beauty that surrounds you and what small nuances’ visiting tourists are amazed by.  Either way, Captain Ernie was a great teacher, our captain for the day, and I will be forever grateful for his leadership and training while onboard his 12-Metre Class Race Boat ”True North” KC-87 yacht.  Registered in Canada.

Also, while onboard one person in our crew got sea sick towards the last leg of the race.  He was not doing well and spent the rest of his time in the race leaning off the rear  stern.  Apologetic for his down time but not necessary as everyone reassured him he was doing the best he could under the circumstances and sea conditions.

I guess he was not expecting that; so much reassurance and support.  When you’re doing something you like and have support from the team I think he had a great time regardless of his sea sickness.  He was a good sport.  Have you ever seen someone try to fight back a vomit from sea sickness?  It’s the funniest thing…….inside you fight back the urge to laugh and don’t laugh out loud because you have compassion for one’s  current dilemma.

No one plans for sea sickness.  [Or personal setbacks]  They just happen unexpectedly sometimes.

And, it’s nothing you can plan for.  Being out on the sea is a “learn as you go situation” like on the job training.  You just have to get out there and learn from every unforeseen situation that faces you in the moment and be willing to follow direction from someone who has the most experience, the Captain.  They know best because they have done all the jobs on the boat a million times.

I was learning my role as a deck hand for the first time, a main sail rigger, but really there was little training.  I was however expected to pull my weight and contribute to our team goal of crossing the finish line first before the other boat.


“Quickly now”  I hear coming from behind me.  It’s Captain Ernie shouting out commands to the crew as he stood at the helm steering the boat.


This was my first memory I have of being a Main Sail Rigger in my first sailing regatta in St. Maarten, Island in the Caribbean.

I had never been in this role before, but that did not mean I could not do a great job at it and be committed to helping our team collectively win a race.


What I Learned

What I learned this day is I was certain in my abilities.  I’m a quick learner and adaptable when pressed.  In the race we all had a collective goal in the race to win, and I was willing to put forth a maximum effort to contribute to our goal.

During the race, one really never knows if you’ll win before you start so the main theme here is when you start; give it all you got.  Never give up and play to win.  It takes a mindset to succeed no matter what goals you set for yourself.  Those skill sets are translatable to all life situations.  Support others along the way so they can feel success as well.

You can’t worry excessively while you’re in the thick of things if you’ll succeed or not, because this will only serve as a distraction and slow you down from focusing on the goal at hand, and immediate task ahead of you.

Just address what immediate actions that need to be done ….done!  Do them the best of your ability.

Know that it is always a helpful skill set to believe in your talents and abilities; hard work and your efforts will pay off and make you successful.  If [first efforts] do not work out, remember most who are successful had to try many times to get it just right.   If you walk away at your first failure and start something completely new; not learn what requires correction…….you may be missing out on future opportunities to learn from your mistakes and make corrections.  Stay the course so that when you try again you can be more successful because you have a learning curve to draw upon.

Making incremental successes is the learning curve journey few have patience for, but is the most important lesson.

If you worry about if the personal or professional goals you set for yourself are even worth pursuing at the first failure insight into why you are doing it in the first place is needed.  What we discussed on Day 1 regarding the “Why” may give you more to think about.  Setting goals is not a stagnant thing.  Its fluid and ever changing.  We revise them often depending on what results we get.  Our motivation for “continuing them” depends on the “why” we are doing them in the first place plus an active feedback loop, and what corrections we need to make.

Setting goals are important.  Some goals are short-term and some can be life changing for the course of your life trajectory, so be thoughtful.  Seeking feedback and support when warranted is okay too as an option when you’re deciding to change course.

Trust your intuition.


Now, I’d like to offer a bit of advice.  I’ll be brief.  As brief as I can be.

“There will never be a perfect time or a more opportunistic break in the schedule to position you to take action.  Now is the time to take action.”     ——-   Dr.  Lofton

“COURAGE, dear heart”  —  C. S. Lewis

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”  —  C.S. Lewis


[FORM in Pdf ]   Here’s the 7-Day Challenge Goal Setting Form

Instructions:        How to Complete the 7-Day Challenge Goal Setting Form


::::   Until Next Time:  à Donf   ::::

Dr Lawana R Lofton, PsyDDr. Lawana R. Lofton, PsyD –    Psychologist with one simple goal of making concepts of psychology accessible.

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