Prior to leaving England on that cold wet day in September and embarking on my new adventure I spent a year considering the idea of working on a super yacht. I even spent a week in the South of France, chatting to yacht crews and others looking for work, all to help me decide if this was something I wanted to do. I vividly remember sitting on a beach in Antibes just off the harbour, writing out what seemed like an endless list of pros and cons…
The main problem with making the decision was that I seemed to have two voices in my head. One I called “Mr Sensible” and the other “Mr Adventurous” – both seemed equally logical and plausible depending on my mood, and were often influenced by the people I was surrounded by.
Mr Sensible would regularly tell me “you are in a well-paid secure job, have a nice apartment and all your friends around you. Why risk it all to work in an industry you have not experienced, to live in a small cabin, sharing with others, away from loved ones and may never even get a job on a yacht.” All plausible reasons which moved the reality of my super yacht adventure further away.
The other side was Mr Adventurous, whose approach was much more exciting, maybe more risky but equally appealing. He would regularly say, “why stay in a job you don’t like, while you have no commitments… explore the world, travel, have new experiences, save more money than you possibly could in your current job, meet new people, L I V E!!!”
Both would present highly convincing cases and my mind, for that year, felt like a high court case with the defendant and prosecution fighting to win. My mind was the jury.
Those I talked with also influenced my decision. My parents naturally opted for the safe and secure option, to stay in my current job, which was a sensible idea and a highly credible option. My friends encouraged me to “go, go, go” “what have you to lose”. They would see more of the fun side of the adventure (travel, hot climates) and they all added support to Mr Adventurous.
I spent a week in France to help my decision and on arriving back in the UK headed straight to my work place. I met with my boss and told him my thoughts. On discussing my options he rightly said “what have you to lose.” With no dependents, mortgage or ties he encouraged me to make the most of the opportunity He also reassured me my job would be there for me should things not work out. With that in mind I spoke to my family, who agreed with his sentiments and were equally encouraging. I realised where my heart lay and that I had a deep routed desire to give the super yacht world my best shot, stepping out of my comfort zone (something that I had not done for a long time) and challenge myself on this exciting yet unknown new path.
The decision was made, the jury in my mind quietened and a calmness came over me before the magnitude of my undertaking dawned on me. My mind buzzed with excitement, so much to sort and plan before leaving, courses to attend and tasks to complete, the first being my letter of resignation… this was really happening!
I handed in my notice the following morning giving four weeks notice. The month flew by and before I knew it I was sat on the tarmac at Bristol Airport in an Easyjet plane bound for Nice in the South of France.
I wish I could say I never regretted the decision but there were times when I did, on that plane, on first entering my crew dormitory, my first dock walk and many other occasions when Mr Sensible would question, “what are you doing?” I did have moments when I wondered if I had made the right decision; with people telling me how hard it was to get work and how I had left it too late to come to France. However, looking back on the whole experience it was certainly not the wrong decision and it has provided me with so many opportunities and memories that would never have happened had I not decided to take the big step that turned my career and life in a completely new direction.
Decisions at times can be very testing, and it is hard not to be influenced by the views of others, or the need to impress and please. Sometimes the easy decision is not necessarily the right one, leaving us stale and uninspired. It may seem more comfortable, certainly easier, though may not always bring happiness. Often the harder one may be worth making, taking you a little further out your comfort zone than you are comfortable with.
The power of one decision over another can have enormous consequences and change the path of your life in so many ways. I often wonder how my life would have been had I not chosen to take the chance of this great opportunity. It is hard to say, but I am sure it would not have included as many incredible sights, beautiful beaches, ports and towns, glorious sunsets and sun rises looking out over the sea, captivating wildlife, making friends and memories to last a life time.
I hope that in my twilight years I will remember some of the incredible moments from my time working on a super yacht and the happy memories and experiences gained. As for my office job… well I think I will have enough to relive without dwelling on this.
There is only one life and I sometimes feel we trade too easily our memories and moments at the expense of a pay cheque. Remembering time is finite and the need to appreciate every moment of each day may just help to create a future and past that you can look on with fondness and happiness.
Make the right decision; live, love, see, feel…enjoy a life you want to live and create your future as you want it.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become”
Blog post by Ben Proctor, author of “Work on a Super Yacht: The Beginners Guide” and creator of www.workonasuperyacht.co.uk