Be Kind to Your Fellow Ship Captains

You may have seen this poem circulating around the internet. I spent some time today trying to find the actual author—with no luck. I found many claims, but no secondary sources, so I will share it below with the most frequent author I have seen—the infamous "Unknown."

While I was sidetracked on that research, I came across this Wall Street Journal article by Peggy Noonan (@Peggynoonannyc) called “What Comes After the Coronavirus Storm”. It closes with this:  “I close with the psychology of the current moment. The novelty has worn off. We’ve absorbed the pandemic and the lockdown. We’ve marveled, complained and made jokes. Now we’re absorbing that the America we stepped away from when we walked into the house, isn’t the America into which we’ll re-emerge. It may look the same, but it will be different. A lot more people will need a lot more help. Twenty-six million people are unemployed. And little normalities of life that we once took for granted—some will be gone.”  I hope you will take the time to read the whole thing.

Now, back to the poem. It applies to so many circumstances in all our lives, but it especially applies right now. As we all navigate this Covid-19 crisis, this is something really important to keep in mind. It is so easy to compare  our situation with someone else’s situation, but really, there are so many variables. So, be kind to your fellow ship captains – because although we are in the same storm, we are not in the same boat.

I heard that we are all in the same boat, but it’s not like that. We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat. Your ship could be shipwrecked and mine might not be. Or vice versa.

For some, quarantine is optimal. A moment of reflection, of re-connection, easy in flip flops, with a cocktail or coffee. For others, this is a desperate financial & family crisis.

For some that live alone, they’re facing endless loneliness. While for others it is peace, rest & time with their mother, father, sons & daughters.

With the $600 weekly increase in unemployment, some are bringing in more money to their households than when they were working. Others are working more hours for less money due to pay cuts or loss in sales.

Some families of 4 just received $3400 from the stimulus while other families of 4 saw $0.

Some were concerned about getting a certain candy for Easter while others were concerned if there would be enough bread, milk, and eggs for the weekend.

Some want to go back to work because they don’t qualify for unemployment and are running out of money. Others want to kill those who break the quarantine.

Some are home spending 2-3 hours/day helping their child with online schooling while others are spending 2-3 hours/day to educate their children on top of a 10-12 hour workday.

Some have experienced the near-death of the virus, some have already lost someone from it and some are not sure if their loved ones are going to make it. Others don’t believe this is a big deal.

Some have faith in God and expect miracles during 2020. Others say the worst is yet to come.

So, friends, we are not in the same boat. We are going through a time when our perceptions and needs are completely different.

Each of us will emerge, in our own way, from this storm. It is very important to see beyond what is seen at first glance. Not just looking, actually seeing.

We are all on different ships during this storm experiencing a very different journey.

Author Unknown



Debbie Foster

Written by Debbie Foster

As Managing Partner, Debbie spends her time running Affinity Consulting Group, management consultants to law firms. Debbie's role includes working with clients, helping to launch new law firms, and speaking to legal professionals at law firm retreats and events all over the place. Her talks focus on fun topics like Law Firm Leadership, Effective Communication, Why Process Matters, Time Management and lots more. Debbie is passionate about all things law firm and legal department-related and she prides herself in sharing what she knows as much as possible. Debbie’s ultimate goal is to help people run firms that intentionally become more and more successful.

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