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A New Frame Of Reference

Written by: David Campbell, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


In July of 2017, I travelled on a family holiday to Canada. It was a wonderful time of creating memories and experiencing so many new things. One thing in particular that struck me was in the locale of Nova Scotia. I came across a schooner named the ‘Blue Nose’. It was one of the most beautiful vessels I had ever seen and I knew immediately that I had to purchase a model of it. Then of course I had to transport it from Canada to Australia. Suffice to say that I now have a 4-foot scale model sitting on the sideboard in my office. To this day, every time I walk past it, I have to smile.

One day as I was reflecting on growing my business and the ways in which I could better help my clients achieve their goals, I glanced over to the Blue Nose model and thought of the original vessel. How many storms had she survived? How many crews had she carried over the years? How much happiness had been enjoyed aboard? How much sadness and tragedy had she endured? And yet here she was, magnificent and awe-inspiring. Was it a representation of business ownership – absolutely. If the Blue Nose had not adhered to the principles and strengths of nautical custom, then destruction would have been a very real alternative. So too with business., The more I thought about it, the more potent were the analogies and I knew that this was something that most business owners could identify with. From there the analogy has grown and developed into the coaching framework that I utilise with my clients.

So, my Navy background, my business and government employment have led me to a deeper understanding of business which can be related back to the analogy of sailing a ship.

You may think of the ship analogy as a safe one, where protected and secure in a sheltered harbor, it’s easy to be extraordinary. But, as has often been said, that’s not what ships are built for – they are created specifically to be out on the sea, embracing the waves, the wind, the torrential weather. This is when they are at their best. This is the thrill of sailing. This is what creates the obsession for more. I have vivid memories of times at sea where we were faced with 50-foot (15m) seas. Where non-essential personnel were confined to their bunks. The feel of exhilaration and euphoria. This is what the infatuation is born of. This is the compulsion that leaves ordinary folk in the wake and in awe of those who are out there doing it. This is what business owners feel.

The reality is that if you build a ship, you're going to take it to sea. You’re going to expose it to the reality of the waters. And so it is with your business. You’re building it strong so that you can go out into the market-place and stand strong amidst the others and be admired by them because despite it all, you have sailed forward magnificently. Others may gasp and wonder how you did this, but you know the secret to it all.

Join me over my next few articles as I share the four pillars to business success.

You built it to actually get dirty and, as you do that, as you go out through the heads, you're going to strike storms, you're going to strike times when there's no wind and you can't go forward. You’re stuck and don’t know what to do – but the experienced sailor knows, the experienced business owner knows. The ones who have taken the time to become trained, disciplined and experienced – they know exactly what to do and that is part of the thrill of it. That is part of the grand adventure of business.

The storm will come regardless. It's whether you have the strength, to withstand it and then know what to do in order to make wins happen. When you realise that, you’ll be thinking... ‘That's what excited me about wanting to read this book. That’s what inspired me to want to know more.’

One of the things that really gelled with me today as I was talking to a client, was the strength of the maritime analogy as it related to his business. He really had run out of puff in his business – he just could not see, hear, feel or anticipate any wind in his sails. This prompted my questions of ‘what are you doing to generate the energy, to move along easily with the wind in your sails? His response was one of frustration verging on despair. ‘I’m on the verge of jumping overboard and swimming for shore!’

The problem with this solution is that firstly, it’s all too common. Secondly, it’s hard to get back to sailing on with your business and thirdly, it involves the input of others to help you out – which is something you don’t really want to do. It's too late to jump overboard and swim for shore. So many do and that's why businesses flounder and eventually sink – the captain has abandoned the ship and it's not just in calm waters that this happens, it's also in the storms. When the storm is raging around you, you don't throw yourself over the side; you tie yourself to the wheel and keep going.

I believe that you will be able to take the stories and the analogy of the ship and apply them directly to your life and business. The weathering of the storm, the clear sailing with the wind and the joyous results are absolutely to be applied to your business, your life, your future.

I believe that my whole approach to coaching is totally different. So many are just hanging out that shingle and professing ‘I can coach.’ And, I’m not saying that intentions and skills are not good. What I am saying is that my coaching is absolutely unique in that my emphasis is on thought and motivational change.

I look at business and I think, ‘You know, you can't go forward and achieve different results if you keep thinking the way you currently think.’ You might be doing well with your current thinking and that's good. It’s got you to where you're at. However, if you want to do better you have to change the way you think and, that’s what has become my by-line, my motto and my mantra –

‘transforming your business by changing your thinking.’

My business is all about transforming businesses by helping the business owner renew the way they think and that then gives them the freedom to actually succeed. And so, I want to play in that space. That’s where I meet and connect with clients who know what they want but are unsure about the directions to take, the actions to adopt. This is where impetus, motivation, inspiration and determination are born and fostered. By giving you a new analogy to think about in terms of a ship it becomes clearer, easier and more achievable. You get to think, ‘Yep, I get it now and that’s how I can move forward, each and every time.’

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David Campbell, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

David is an exceptionally experienced executive coach. He is an exceptional public speaker who challenges the way organisations and individuals think in relation to business and life. has led reform within a number of organisations and brings a unique understanding of the pressures in both the public and private sectors. He understands the changing requirements and time frames within the business environment and has considerable experience in leading, managing and coaching geographically dispersed (remote) teams. David brings a new insight into the way we think into our success in business to realise exceptional results.



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