The Golden Circle

Another Friday night, another catch-up post. Blogging in front of my computer on a Friday night. Woo hoo, Hammy and I are living quite the exciting life.

But hey - we're living and we have a roof over our head. I count my blessings for that every day.

Hammy is doing much better this past week - he's back to normal too. He does not handle change very well, gets really pissed when he's put in the carry container, and sulks for days afterwards. He's coming out of his funk now too - I am fully out of mine and back in work mode.


Two business tools that have been invaluable to me over the years are Simon Sinek's "Golden Circle", and the book Unstuck, a brilliant resource by Keith Yamashita and Sandra Spataro that helps teams and organizations achieve world-class performance. I often turn to these tools for guidance when building strategies and a course of action.

I realize that if I'm going to actually pull this off, I'm going to need a team. I can't do this by myself. 

I really don't like admitting that. I grew up with parents who were born during the Depression, so self-reliance has always been an unspoken value in my family. We don't make excuses, and we get stuff done regardless of whether we have what we need or not. You make do with what you've got or you make what you need.

I may have to sail by myself for portions of this journey, but I can't do all the myriad number of things to make a voyage like this happen without additional joyful helping hands.

In truth, my soul is already acknowledging that I am the sum of everyone I have ever worked with, played with, loved or held dear in my life. I think of my friend Louis as I plan this expedition, who I turned on to sailing years ago by taking him out on my boat, and he got so excited that he bought his own to live on and eventually sail the world. 

Tragically, he died before realizing that dream. But he'll be with me on mine. To be honest, I don't even know who I'm writing this blog for yet, but I do know that if you're reading this, you have probably influenced my life for the better in some way, and you will be on this journey with me too.

I'm NOT going to be alone on this journey, ever. Even if I'm the only person on the boat, I know that I won't be alone. I do need some help though, and that means I need to shift gears, get over my pity party (done!) and figure out how to pitch this to inspire people to join me.

Sinek's Golden Circle is deceptively simple and very profound. It maps how we think and make decisions, and while it started out as a marketing tool to help focus teams, I apply it across all spectrums of life when faced with making decision. It looks like this:


Why is the center for everything we do. Why is your motivation, your purpose. I think we should all have a purpose, or we're just taking up space. 'Why' is the question - what are you doing this for, deep down in your soul? 

Why is always an emotional response - it's never logical. As an example - why do some people love Apple phones and others an Android? People will tell you all sorts of logical reasons, but at the end of the day, it's how they feel when using the product that matters.

Some love Apple and say it's because the phones are beautiful, elegant, and easy to use. Android users love the ability to customize their phone, its price and many will proudly admit to 'not buying into the Apple hype' as a reason to go Android.

Since both types of phones do exactly the same technical things, (make phone calls, take pictures, host apps, etc.), the truth is that the emotional connection to the brand is why people buy one or the other and become fans. It becomes part of your identity - "I'm an Apple person. I'm an Android. I don't care about either - I'm more practical."

If we as consumers connect emotionally with the Why of a product, we become fans and often, passionate, life-long customers. The Why becomes part of our personal identity - our 'image', if you will. And it's human nature to seek out other like-minded people.


In re-reading my previous posts (gah, what a drama queen I can be!), I realize that my previously stated "why's" were all logical, and not really reasons at all. I think I outlined my qualifications like a resume, but not really the emotional and motivational WHY I'm doing this, or why anyone would want to help or join me in it.

I'm not telling the story correctly.

Frankly, I'm still trying to find my voice for this blog. It will take a little while to find my groove, but like Alexander Hamilton, I'm going to try to write my way out. And who knows, maybe someone will write a musical about me someday?

So, back in business mode. I'll do separate posts on the HOW and WHAT soon. This is a turning point in the story- I think the blog will get more fun and focused from here.

Here are five WHY's and motivations for me to take this journey. If any of these resonate with you as well, that might be a sign that you should join me in some way on this adventure. :-)


1) Inspiration for Exploration

I need to dream to live. And I dream big. I think we all need dreams and aspirations, no matter how old you are. It doesn't have to be as big as sailing around the world, but we all have something that we love to do or want to do that seems a little crazy to others. Many folks push those dreams aside or squash them as not realistic.

I am a traveller and adventurer. That's been a constant in my life - seeking out new challenges and places to explore around the world. Maybe that's a flaw, but I can't seem to sit still for too long. I have tried walking a different path for the past 10 years. There was a time when my passport was full of stamps, and passport is expired. I haven't used it in 15 years. 

That's not me. I wouldn't blow up my 'normal' life to go do something like this, but since that happened on its own, I see that as the universe giving me an opportunity to reclaim my passion.

I do hope to inspire people with my journey, so anyone following can realize their own dreams and not waste time. Turns out that life is pretty short. Grab it while you can.

MY story isn't really all that important in the grand scheme of things. If it can be an inspiration for someone else to live their dream or tell their story, though, then my purpose will be fulfilled.

If I can do this, you can do whatever it is you dream of doing too.

2) Sharing is Caring

It's one thing to have a dream, and quite another to pull it off. I'm motivated to share the processes, thinking, mistakes, highs, lows, successes, failures and aha! moments along this entire journey so you can learn what to do...and what NOT to do when chasing your own dreams. I've learned quite a bit from others in my life, and I believe strongly in giving back. I'm always been motivated to learn and share knowledge with whomever is interested. I don't do it for attention or money - to use a maritime analogy, a rising tide floats all boats, and that's my real purpose. To somehow help make the world just a little bit better place. 

I think of myself as a vessel for entertaining and helping others - that's where I find my joy.

That's been a constant in my life too- my raison d'etre. I can be selfish, sure, but I believe that I am here on this planet to serve a greater good.

3) I'd rather be Ashes than Dust

There's a quote by Jack London that I learned in grad school that summarizes my life philosophy quite nicely. If you identify with this quote, you should somehow join me on this journey too.

“I would rather be ashes than dust. 

I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. 

I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.

I shall use my time.”

Covid-19 has reminded us in all too harsh a way, that we don't always get the choice to prolong our days. To use a sports analogy, I am in the 4th quarter of life. And if you look at life as something of a game, like I do, then you also have to remember that any game is won or lost in the 4th quarter. I'm thinking that based on family history, I've got another 20-25 years left. There is no time left to waste, but plenty of time left to use. 

I will not coast to the finish line of life. I shall use my time.

4) Finding my Tribe & Calling

We all need to belong to something, or...someone. Humans simply aren't meant to be isolated and apart from each other.

Do you ever feel like you don't quite fit in?

I feel that way a LOT. I have many friends in this world from many walks of life and I love them all, and I know that they care for me too. But in the 'real world', I often feel that hardly anyone really gets me. I own that - it's probably me - but I often feel like an outsider, even when surrounded by people who care about me.

There are two places in the world where I am always comfortable, happy and deeply 'me', however. Places where I fit in.

One is in a theater and the other is on a boat, being in Nature. I think the appeal for me is that the people in those places are very accepting of anyone who wants to join their community. There are no barriers to entry, no judging once you're in - the norms of each tribe are pretty simple:  a) be yourself, b) don't be an asshole, c) we're here to explore d) the work is always better when you're having fun. 

Implicit in each activity is joyful teamwork - you HAVE to work together in a theater and on a boat, or you literally don't go anywhere.

We might live on the fringe of normal society, but actors and sailors are my tribe at my core.

As for a calling - I'm still trying to figure that out. This journey feels like it's bigger than me and that I have an incredible opportunity to do some good in ways that I can't do here in the US. There's too much noise. I don't know what it is yet, but I hear the calling and even if I can't make out what I'm supposed to do, I'm trusting that at some point in time the calling will reveal itself.

I just hope it's not to collect all the animals of the earth ahead of a forecast for rain. Can you imagine that smell on a boat? 

5) There's No Place Like Home

This a powerful motivator for me, but might not resonate with others, I don't know. This boat is the first and probably only home I will ever own. I don't have enough money to buy a house on land, but I can get a fairly nice boat with what I have.

After 37 moves in 44 years, I will not be homeless again. 

Sure, I could just get a boat and not travel the world. But as an explorer, I've always wanted to live in Italy. And Greece. And Mexico. And Australia. And Tahiti. And... fill in the blank. There are a lot of places that I want to see before I check out of this life. Now I can do that - own a home AND live where ever I want.

It's a small home, but it's a 'green' one, with low impact on the planet. That motivates me too. I've always considered myself more a resident of Earth rather than an American, so now, anywhere I go, I'm going home.

I like the way that feels. Everybody needs a home, and I finally have mine.

I hope I can help others find their way home through this journey too. 


Teresa Kasner said…
I am signing on as remote crew. :-)

I lived aboard for 4 months on Stargazer in Friday Harbor and it was an amazing time for me. I could never find people to "crew" for me so I had a stern lecture with myself on single-handing and proceeded to do that. What a memory I have of it. It was like Nirvana.

I'm excited to follow along on your adventure.

((hugs)), Teresa :-)
Susan Boulanger said…
Well said. I identify with so much- really all- of what you say here. I promise to join in as part of your cheering section and, who knows, I may even be able to meet you somewhere! If I can help from my little corner, just let me know! I’m looking forward to following the blog! So happy for you as you follow your dream!