There go my people. I must find out where they are going so I can lead them. --Alexandre Ledru-Rollin
photo courtesy Nantahala Outdoor Center.
Have you ever gone whitewater rafting? You get a raft and you and four or five pals pile in; if you’re smart, you’ll also get a river guide who knows where to find the hidden rocks and great swirls.
Robin’s family goes whitewater rafting every couple of years. They sometimes go on the “family friendly” Nantahala river (no helmets required) and sometimes on the more aggressive Upper Ocoee which boasts some intense whitewater and was used in the 1996 Olympics (helmets definitely required).
Here’s the important part of the mechanics of rafting: the people on the sides provide velocity but not direction. The guide in the back provides direction, using his oar as a rudder. He controls the raft’s direction with minimal effort but has little impact on the velocity. And as hard as the rowers may try, those on the side cannot change the direction. It’s particularly funny to watch another raft and see the folks on the side paddling furiously—attempting to change direction—while the guide calmly keeps the raft pointed forward.
It doesn’t matter how hard you try; only the guide can change the raft’s direction.
The raft is your company. The president is the rudder; the workers are the paddles. Which are you? Only the guide can change the raft’s direction, no matter how hard the paddlers try. Instead of trying to change the raft’s course by paddling furiously, look at what the rudder is doing. If you don’t have confidence, jump! If you have confidence in the guide, paddle.
(Thanks to my friend Jim who gave me this analogy originally.)
Look in your hands. Do you have an oar or a rudder? If you have an oar, you cannot change the raft’s direction, as hard as you may try. Paddle! Or look for a new raft.