- by Alex Airinei, Business Development Manager CITR CYPRUS


        The spring of 1895 finds Joshua Slocum, an established experienced sailor, on the path to history. In just over 2 years, captain Slocum achieves the unthinkable and becomes the first human to sail single-handedly around the world aboard “Spray”, his trusted 11-meter ship. This is the story of a fearless navigator on a mission, prepared to adapt to an ever-changing environment and to conquer all challenges that dared oppose his goal. I highly recommend his memoirs of the trip “Sailing Alone Around the World” for any of you brave explorers.  


         Fast forward a hundred and something years to the present day. We are witnessing incredible events, with a full-blown pandemic raging across the globe. Let me remind you of a couple of words that made way in your daily news cycles for the past 12 months: crisis, risk, danger, confusion, doubt, emergency, and of course my least favorite word in the world uncertainty. Unless you are a fortune-teller, in which case I imagine you must have people lining up at your door, your past year was reshaped by this, there is no way around it. The most famous search engine in the world clearly shows the increase in popularity of uncertainty (below chart).

Level of interest over the word “uncertain” across the globe as expressed by google trends between Jan 19 to present day.

            Is there a link between an unprecedented global event and a brave captain looking to defy all odds?


        While most will think of it as insane to set sail around the world all alone, left at the mercy of the mighty oceans, this was not the case for Captain Slocum. Here is a man who had a goal, a mission, the holy grail of any sailor – conquer all corners of the world in a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

        But how does one set a goal while already in the middle of the storm? At least the captain had done it months if not years before he actually boarded the ship.

        There is never a good or bad time to set yourself a goal, the toughest part is finding the resilience to see it through. We should not point fingers at those who were caught unprepared, at those stranded in an ocean of uncertainty. In all honesty, there are few those who actually had written down “pandemic” as cause for possible business failure not long ago. It takes confidence and commitment to set down a goal, making sure that the objective is achievable and in the grasp of our power. Needless to say, without a clear goal, we are navigating in the dark waiting for the inevitable.


        What makes the captain's achievement even more remarkable is that he completely rebuilt “Spray” with his own hands. He left nothing at the will of faith. The brave sailor planned the trip making sure that his steady boat will be able to face any challenge…and boy did he get his share of them.

        Any army veteran will tell you that there is no successful mission without a strategy like there is no treasure without a map, don’t believe me, ask any pirate. I am not advocating for too much planning, for that might lead to unwanted delays, especially if the future of your business or your wellbeing relies on it. Use the best of your knowledge and start assembling a strategy to support your goal. Look at what you know, at what you have, and of course at what you need to get you through the crisis. Don’t prepare just one scenario, have 3 or 5 or as many as you think appropriate to cover all possible unforeseen events. Above all, don’t be hesitant to ask for guidance while in the process, let’s not forget, everything is at stake here.


        During his 2-year adventure, the captain went through many close calls, at some point he even had thieves shooting at him. Of course, he could have never planned for something like that, even so, he improvised, he kept his composure and managed to escape each situation. Even with a clear mission and a bullet-proof plan the unpredictable will make a way in your life. Look to adapt to the new environment and seek to convert it to your advantage. Surround yourself with the best tools available and remove anything that will drag you forward.  

        Thinking back at Joshua Slocum’s achievement, it is even more inspiring when you consider the lack of technology on board his vessel. He relied on good old fashion navigation skills used by his predecessors for hundreds of years beforehand. In theory, it’s supposed to be easier today, when there are a process and procedure for everything, when there is more data on a subject than you could ever reed in a lifetime, however, it seems harder, overwhelming for many. It wouldn’t hurt once in a while to look back at some of these examples and get that all-important dose of inspiration.