When George Washington stood at the helm in his famous crossing of the Delaware on Christmas Day in 1776, it’s unlikely he brought along a boatload of emotional baggage:
- “I wonder what’s up with Benedict’s sudden disappearing act.”
- “Whatever happened to all those couples with whom Martha and I used to break bread at Mount Vernon?”
- “Does Betsy Fauntelroy ever think about me?”
- “How long is Franklin going to stay in a snit about my dissing his idea that our national bird should be a turkey?”
Nope. You can tell by the look on George’s face that he had much weightier issues on his mind:
- What if the Hessians outnumber us at Trenton?
- What if we run out of food and ammunition?
- What if my soldiers whose enlistments are up on the 31st decide to quit and go home?
- What if this wicked weather causes the river to freeze and we’re stuck until Spring thaw?
- What if my standing upright while everyone else is sitting down causes the boat to capsize and we all drown?
These were indeed the times that tried men’s souls. Washington, however, wisely understood not only how to pick his battles but also which battles, frankly, were no longer worth his time and energy. Turns out that this is actually a pretty good business model with application to the 21st century as we move into the challenges of a new year.
In my own case, the river I’ve crossed most frequently isn’t the Delaware but, rather, the Potomac. Since 1982, my love of Alexandria, Virginia has led to annual getaways from the West Coast to enjoy a Colonial glimpse of life in the past lane and reconnect with friends and colleagues. “You always come back so refreshed,” my friend Linda said after I described the euphoria I felt every time I saw the morning sun glint off the wings of my plane as it banked over the river and followed its course all the way to National/Reagan Airport. In time, “crossing the Potomac” became a euphemism for leaving one’s cares behind…if only for the blissful duration of a week’s stay.
It wasn’t long after that I introduced my husband to this “rite of winter” and the importance it held for me, so important that – without even asking – he always makes sure I have the window seat for our descent so as not to miss a single moment.
The euphoria is still as high as ever but on our recent pre-Christmas trip, I came away with an epiphany that makes even more sense than simply putting one’s worries and trepidations on hold. Why not, instead, figuratively release them to the depths of the river and allow them to sink once and for all?
Too often our journeys in life are so weighted down by regrets, disappointments, anxieties, betrayals, doubts and anger – usually over events which aren’t even within our control – that we lose sight of the possibilities and opportunities that are within our reach. Instead of steadfastly focusing on the road ahead, we become obsessed with looking in the rearview mirror to either see what’s gaining on us or to speculate ad nauseum why we’re not being followed by those whose loyalty we once trusted would always be there.
Not all destinations can be reached by land, sea or air, especially if it’s a dream that dwells within the heart. In order to reach it, you must first cathartically lighten the emotional load which has been taking a toll on your spirits, zapping your energy levels and causing you to believe that every problem – real, imagined or even someone else’s – is realistically fixable. And while it’s a stretch to fathom Elsa’s “Let It Go” as a soundtrack to George’s historic crossing, it’s nonetheless a theme as relevant to a Frozen fairy tale as it is to an ice-locked landscape or the inertia of stuck sensibilities.
Here’s the line-up of this month’s guest contributors:
Tuning Out the Naysayers – by Mandy Wildman
Hidden Energy Users, How Much Is It Costing Your Business? – by Graeme Ambrose
Emerging E-Commerce Trends For 2015 – by Jason Kane
How Shopify Reinvented the Wholesaler – by Sean Allan