Crossing the Atlantic single-handed

I have recently spent 2 days at the National Entrepreneurs convention surrounded by my favourite workaholics – people who run their own businesses. I’ve met Steve Wozniak, presented the awards on the big stage and have met some really inspirational people – but my favourite bit by far was Debra Searle’s speech about her single handed crossing of the Atlantic. This wasn’t an intentional single-handed crossing – she had started a race with her then husband – and when he pulled out 2 weeks in – she decided to continue alone. Very brave lady.

As analogies go it couldn’t have been more relevant. With what I am doing at Diamond I sometimes feel like I am rowing a boat single-handed in stormy seas and it’s almost impossibly hard and very lonely. But actually Debra couldn’t have done her crossing without an enormous support team – and neither can I and for that I am very grateful. As she said she kept a wary eye out for frigates and sharks – thinking they would be the things that may scupper her journey – but actually it was a benevolent turtle called Barney scraping playfully on the bow of her boat causing holes in her hull which nearly sunk her, which is a similar to the situation I am faced with now.

I loved the bit when she phoned home – beaten, exhausted and ready to give up – and her sister said ‘we are not quite ready to quit yet’. My team would have the same response. She also said when the destination is miles away, sometimes you just have to focus on the goal – not the miles ticking by, or sometimes going backwards, and keep on rowing. There were two key sayings I have to share with you also – one was ‘if you do what you have always done, you’ll get what you have always got’ – story of a part of my life – and ‘you can choose you attitude daily.’ I am a pretty positive person; by always decisively choosing a positive attitude a day – and then remind yourself of the positive behaviours that that attitude would result in – is a great tool I think we can all use when times are tough.

And a final thing – instead of focusing on what you want – in her case a shower, bed, the end of her journey – just focus on the goal, attitude and behaviour – and persist. Her Atlantic journey took her 3 and a half months – when the winner completed in 42 days. But she did it. An amazing lady. And amazing lessons. Look her up at

And think. What attitude can I choose today? What goals do I need to focus on? What team do I have supporting me? And what can I change input wise to change the output? And what turtle do I have to look out for in my business?

Author: Kate Lester