The Wind in Our Sails

This post was written by Sally Gore, MAHSLIN Chair-Elect

When I was in the 5th grade, I read a book in class that has stuck with me ‘til this day. Dove is the story of Robin Lee Graham, a 16-year-old who decided to leave behind what most describe as “safety and security” and head out to circumnavigate the world alone. For him, there was nothing safe about high school, nothing secure about living in the California suburbs. He wanted to explore and to see the world. This is the kind of life he dreamed of.

I have multiple copies of the book now and even the issues of the National Geographic from 1968-1972 that captured his story and photographs. One of those photos shows Robin sitting in his sailboat in the middle of the ocean (I cannot recall which one at the moment), in the middle of what sailors call the Doldrums. The Doldrums occur along the equator and refer to a time of “light and variable nature of the winds.” (Glossary of Meteorology, American Meteorological Society) In this particular photo of Robin, the sea looks like glass; not a ripple to be seen anywhere. When one is sailing, one needs wind. Without it, there’s not much to do but sit and wait.

Today, the phrase “being in the Doldrums” has made its way from the nautical world into our own vernacular. Sitting in the midst of this unusually hot summer in New England, I feel I’m in the Doldrums. The heat and humidity, the lack of a cool, dry Canadian breeze, leave me feeling stuck (literally, to the chair!).

Long, lazy days can also leave me feeling stuck in my work. Do you ever experience the Doldrums of work? Do things ever seem to become so routine that you’re lulled into a sense of tiredness, a sense of boredom? If so, where does the wind for your sails come from? How do you get going again?

Since our annual meeting, I’ve thought a lot about Stever Robbins, the “Get it Done Guy”, and the exercises he led us through to shake up our thinking a bit. I’ve been following his blog, tweets and podcasts, and I find that he offers a bunch of neat ideas to help me get going again. And do you remember his description of “Action Days”? Talk about a great way to jumpstart your sails (mixing metaphors, I know).

My point is that the wind is blowing in a lot of directions out there. Maybe it’s not literally blowing in our windows to cool us off, but inspiration for new activities, new ideas, and new directions in our work abounds. Grab some! Harness its energy! Even better, produce some energy by sharing tips with others by commenting here, posting new ideas to the listserv, or sending in your anecdotes for the MAHSLIN Network News. Let’s be the wind in each others sails this summer and beyond!

Note: MAHSLIN will host an Action Day sometime in the near future. I’ll post details soon.

3 Responses to “The Wind in Our Sails”


  1. 1 Stever Robbins July 27, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Glad the annual meeting was useful! Keep in mind that people are often your biggest allies in getting stuff done. One of the next thing about action days is the chance to get a brief glimpse into others’ lives on an hour-by-hour basis. One person who attends is a professional actress in New York. I get to experience the life vicariously, which is really eye-opening to someone like me whose life is lived largely in the business world. Join us! (Next one isn’t for a couple of weeks due to my travel schedule: http://www.steverrobbins.com/actionday )


  1. 1 When you’re sick, ask for … a librarian Trackback on July 27, 2010 at 2:22 pm
  2. 2 Is enjoying the job enough? « MAHSLIN Blog Trackback on August 2, 2010 at 11:41 am

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