keep rowing

EmPulse for Week of January 10, 2011

Keep rowing…

One of the greatest men I ever knew was Steve Holbrook. We worked together as Princeton Management Associates—he, the founder and CEO, I the lowly peon and apprentice. He taught me many things but the one thing that stands above all was perseverance. Steve was tenacious; he simply would not accept no; he could always push through to a positive outcome.

He coined a little formula about making a difference in life that I have never forgotten—  row the boat. Set your sights on the finish line and row as if your life depended on it. He flushed out the phrase through a pneumonic phrase—  O-A-RRow the Boat.

1. OBJECTIVE- What is it you want to accomplish? How do you want to make a difference?

2. ACTIONS- HOW are you going to accomplish your goal? HOW are you going to make a difference? What specifically will you do to fulfill your dreams, your goals?

3. RESULTS- So, how did it go? To what extent did you make everything work? On a 1-10 scale, to what degree did your Actions achieve your Objective? Where did you fall short? How can you make it work the next time? Any changes?

A very simple way of assessing things, isn’t it? Unless we set goals, we flounder… , let the stream take us where it will. If we do not ACT on what we dream, plan, or aspire to, then we merely daydream. If we do not measure what we have done we will, more likely than not, settle for the mediocre.

So when you are simply at the end of your rope, beaten down, or floating downstream—  first, take a breath, r-e-s-t; get some solid input to build your spirit and inspire your soul. Then ask for some practical advice from a competent (older & wiser) friend. [NOT someone as stuck as you are.] Then, get back into the boat and keep on rowing. Odds are you are NEVER rowing against Niagara Falls. It just feels that way.

Since my time with my friend Steve I have often felt as if I were rowing against the current, constantly struggling to move upstream, only to be drowned at the foot of Niagara. To my surprise, I found that I overcame what challenges were set before me, whatever perceived obstacles melted into mere gullies. It was hard, discouraging, tedious, and exhausting. Had I to do it all over again, I would have chosen the same route. Well, maybe with a few less stupid moves on my part.

So, keep rowing, and rowing, and rowing. You can get there! Giving up will make you less of what God has designed you to be and to do. And yes, learn to be wisely stubborn, tenaciously so. J Remember, the people who tell you it can’t be done aren’t doing it—you are!  Keep rowing. And don’t be surprised when your power motor kicks in!

Have a nice week,


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