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In that great classic, Moby Dick, ship’s crew is subjected to hunger and thirst, to the terrifying stillness of the doldrums, and to naked fear. Yet Captain Ahab refuses to give up on his goal: the hunt for Moby Dick.

There are those frustrating times in the life of every real entrepreneur, when nothing happens. Progress grinds down to a snail’s pace. We’re stuck. And while we like to think we adhere to A Thomas Hawkins’ perspective,

Yachts languish in the doldrums

As time itself takes time out,”

It’s not always that simple.

While our business yachts meander in the doldrums, we seldom recognize the magnificent opportunity for emotional and spiritual growth that waits quietly under those dark, leaden waters of worry. Hard to see that, when debts mount and savings dwindle and the door to income and growth and revelation seems permanently jammed.

Most of us identify with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s wonderful poem, “Becalmed:”

Becalmed upon the sea of Thought,

Still unattained the land it sought,

My mind, with loosely-hanging sails,

Lies waiting the auspicious gales. 

On either side, behind, before,

The ocean stretches like a floor,–

A level floor of amethyst,

Crowned by a golden dome of mist. 

Blow, breath of inspiration, blow!

Shake and uplift this golden glow!

And fill the canvas of the mind

With wafts of thy celestial wind. 

Blow, breath of song! until I feel

The straining sail, the lifting keel,

The life of the awakening sea,

Its motion and its mystery!

This is the time and the opportunity to develop, to reread and ponder the book of Joshua, to reconnect with God and check our choices and behaviour and what we have been sowing. Now is the time to becalm our minds “as time itself takes time out” in order to hear what we need to hear, instead of allowing frantic panic to bang painfully against the insides of our head like drunken dodgem cars at a noisy fair. This is the cocoon from which a beautiful butterfly can emerge.

Personal growth, courage, experience and strength is beaten out on the anvil of frustration, fired in the kiln of difficulty, and sharpened on the diamond benchstone of fear and backbreaking work. The truly successful entrepreneur is one who has experienced the doldrums and knows that it is often the right thing at the right time, for the right reason.

“In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”

Robin Elliott   LeverageAdvantage.com

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