16 Jun Psychological and Emotional Preparation for Offshore Sailing – Part 2
Performing well under pressure means we have taken the time to prepare ourselves on all of these dimensions. I refer to these as systems – simply put, are all systems functioning well. Are all systems prepared to handle difficult and challenging situations or conditions. Using the term ‘systems’ makes it easier to understand and furthermore, it parallel’s the language of systems in a boat. In the same way that a boat has many systems – mechanical systems, electrical systems etc. we as human beings also have systems.
Of course, the question we are really asking in preparation for a long voyage is, “are each of the systems mentioned equipped to handle the stress and pressure of a long passage?” Can I manage myself in challenging conditions? Can I maintain clear thinking (decision making) in times of stress? In reality, anyone can function like a champion in peaceful, calm non threatening environments, however, that’s not what we’re preparing for. Once we leave the security of shore and easy access to sheltered bays or marinas, we have to be prepared to handle anything the environment dishes out. We cannot run for shelter, so we have to be prepared for anything.
This discussion is limited to the mental and emotional systems – and to some extent the ‘team’ system. In order to prepare these systems we need to understand the dimensions of how we function has a human being. We function primarily in three domains; the cognitive, the emotional and the core of who we are. We could add a fourth which is the spiritual, but that’s for another time.