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The Canoe Lesson

By July 6, 2018February 14th, 2023Blog, Practice Management

My husband doesn’t want me to tell this story, but I am going to break the “wife code” and do it anyway. You see it is one of those stories that makes you look foolish. Still I it believe it is worth sharing.

One day we decided to explore the salt march in the back of our house. We had been looking at the water longingly for several months but had no boat to take advantage of the easy access. The marsh behind our yard is highly affected by the tides. We go from high water of about 6 feet to 0 water and lots of pluff mud. For anyone unfamiliar with the SC march mud, think of thick, black goo that will suck the shoes right off your feet. Add to that, the smell of slightly tainted seafood and you get the full picture. It is not something you want to be stuck in.

Finally, the time was right. The tide was high the weather was sunny and we had time to kill. Off we went to the local tackle shop to rent a canoe to see what we could see.

Things started out well. We launched the canoe with ease, steadied ourselves and paddled away from the dock through the narrow spartina grass pathway to the larger part of the marsh.

We were having a great time. As we learned to paddle in better coordination with each other, our progress became smoother and we cut through the water, picking up speed and making our way further from home. We were getting into this canoe thing. Maybe we would even buy a canoe. This is FUN!

And then the tide turned…

Realizing that we had limited time to return to our dock without grounding our canoe in the mud we dipped our ores and turned towards home. The odd thing was, as we paddled against the turning tide we weren’t having so much fun anymore. It was getting hot. The air wasn’t moving. We were paddling HARD.

Understand, there are no landmarks in the middle of a salt march – only lots of spartina grass and small channels that all look very similar. As we headed back we got stuck in a dead-end channel we had believed was our way home.

Mentally we were hearing the time ticking away as we realized here we were – stuck in a narrow channel with no good way to turn around.

We grabbed our paddles with tired and shaking arms, hunkered down and started paddling furiously to turn ourselves in the opposite direction. We were working against a rapidly turning tide that wanted to keep us pointed in the path we had been heading. Going nowhere.

As we finally managed to maneuver our fatigued, over heated selves out of the grass and back in the right direction for home it hit us…. WE ARE IN A CANOE! All we had to do was turn our bodies around on the seats and paddle out of the dead end. Yep – canoes are pointed on both ends! Who would have thought…
We made the effort to change directions 10x harder than it needed to be. All because we kept doing what we had been doing…never pausing to think things out and find the simpler way out of our dilemma.

Why do I risk the “look” from my husband to tell this story?

Because so many times in business or in life we just keep paddling against the tide. We do the same thing we have always done and when we dead end we don’t stop: think, get advice, find a new perspective (like turning your body around on the seat) so we can successfully reach our desired destination.
Instead we just paddle harder and fight the changes that would take us home…

If you are tired of paddling against the tide call me – Debbie Boone-2Manage Vets Consulting, LLC 336.280.5086 and get your “canoe” heading in the right direction!


Debbie Boone’s New Book:

“Hospitality in Healthcare”

Today’s healthcare consumer demands more than just an appointment. They want healing and human connection. Providing an exceptional experience at every step of the patient journey requires active participation and collaboration from the entire medical office team.

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