Recognize the end quote? It belongs to a sailor from back in the day when cartoons were actually good. The message was simple and the goal was singular. “Strong to the finish, ’cause I eats me spinach” – Popeye the sailor man. What a great cartoon and a great and easy message. But there is one thing that I need to point out…Popeye wasn’t able to perform feats of strength without his spinach. Which leads me to today’s adventure.

After a tough and unfortunate incident in the past few weeks, I got to thinking about sailors. Work with me here. My mind wanders a bit, but it always comes back around to make sense. There is a famous quote out there that says “Rough seas and storms make great sailors.” Yes, I’ve encountered some tough times. Our family is going through a season right now. I have family going through the cycle of life with sickness and ailment. Their health hasn’t been in the best shape and it has taken a toll on the family in general. My job has it’s uncertainties, including still possibly covering for a strike situation in California and also the transition of the finance department which will determine if I have a job and where it will be located. Additionally, even with major steps towards becoming debt free and being smart with our finances, we are encountering the pains of financial stress because of the ignorance of the past. It’s been a roller coaster of a road. Even with these stress points hovering, Amber and I have a mission to use the skills and abilities that God has given us to serve children in a huge way…which is a continuous process until an opening comes available that is the right fit.

But back to the sailor thing. Sailors always have a captain of the ship. Thinking about leadership, I thought about the role of a captain when the seas are looking a bit rough. The captain gives direct orders and mans the wheel to guide the direction of the vessel. Being ADD I wondered what makes the captain a great captain while he is navigating through a tough monsoon with the responsibility to keep the crew alive and well? In my mind, the captain stays at the helm and leads. He trusts the crew that has been trained around him to skillfully handle their job. He delegates to seasoned members of the crew to get the job done. The watchman scours the horizon to ensure the ship is not headed for rocks or other ships. The hands on deck raise, lower, and reposition the sail so that winds are favorable for forward motion. The oarsman below (this is a pirate ship 🙂 ) stroke together in unison with strength and courage. The whole ship moves swiftly across the water with precision and honor.

On the flip side, what would it look like if the captain ventured the opposite direction. What if the captain felt the need to perform all of the positions? The watchman isn’t seeing enough, so the captain decides to climb up and take a look for himself. The wind is not as favorable, so the captain decides to hoist the main sail on his own. The oarsmen are struggling against the waves, so the captain rolls up his sleeves and begins to row away. All of these things the captain does are admirable…but something is happening to the direction of the ship. Who is at the helm? Suddenly, the crew looks up to discover that the ship has been going in circles for hours. Why? Because the leader isn’t present in his designed role.

For the leaders that are out there. Think through this. Are you taking the lead and managing in such a way that the vision and direction of your organization is full-speed ahead with all cylinders firing? Are the seasoned professionals around you fired up about the vision? Or are there signs in the ship that the organization is going in circles? Are the professionals around you wondering when the next tidal wave rolls over the ship? If you take nothing else away from this script…STEADY THE SHIP! Learn to delegate to those you trust. Work as a team to accomplish the goal. Don’t do it yourself!…and most of all, God is the Admiral. Ultimately, He calls the shots. Let Him.

I’m in stormy seas right now. I will come out of it strong because I trust the Admiral. As a husband and father, I will take the lead and steady the ship. For those out there reading, you’re either in a storm, just came out of one, or about to go into one. Make preparations now to ensure the ship is steady through any situation. Lead the way…full-speed ahead!