“Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.”

Grandma Moses

In the grand, unfathomable sea of life, where the waves of uncertainty incessantly lap at the sides of our little dinghies of existence, we’re all amateur sailors trying to navigate through the foggy soup of the everyday.

Now, imagine if you will, a ship. Not just any ship, mind you, but a gleaming, ostentatious vessel, decked out with all the bells and whistles. Its hull is polished to a mirror sheen, the sails are as white as the teeth in a toothpaste commercial, and it’s got enough flags to make the United Nations look underdressed. This ship, my friends, is the S.S. Perfect Faith, and oh, does it look magnificent docked in the harbor.

But here’s the rub: the S.S. Perfect Faith has never actually left the port. It’s like that friend who buys all the gear for a new hobby, only to leave it gathering dust in the corner. Sure, it looks like it could slice through the waves like a hot knife through butter, but for all we know, it might as well sink like a stone the moment it faces a wave taller than a speed bump.

Now, let’s talk about doubts for a moment. Doubts, those pesky little gremlins that love to whisper sweet nothings of doom into our ears right when we’re about to do something mildly courageous. You see, doubts are like the in-laws of our mental family – we didn’t necessarily invite them, but here they are, making themselves comfortable on the couch of our psyche, questioning our every decision.

But, and this is a big but, what if we’ve got it all wrong about doubts? What if they’re not the anchors we think they are, dragging us down to the murky depths of despair? What if, instead, they’re more like those fancy GPS systems you find on modern ships, guiding us through the treacherous waters of life with their annoyingly calm voices?

Think about it. Every time a doubt pops up, it’s an opportunity to question our course, to adjust our sails, to maybe even discover a new route we hadn’t considered before. It’s like when you’re driving to a friend’s house and your GPS suddenly says, “In 200 meters, turn left on ‘Reconsideration Avenue.'” Sure, it might add a few minutes to your journey, but who knows? You might pass a bakery along the way and pick up a croissant that changes your life.

So, here we are, aboard our slightly less impressive but infinitely more seaworthy vessels, navigating the choppy seas with our doubt-GPS guiding the way. And when the storms come, as they inevitably do, we’ll find that our ships are much tougher than they look. Because a ship that’s battled a few storms, that’s got a few scratches and dents, is a ship with character. It’s a ship with stories to tell.

And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want? To dock at the final harbor and say, “You should’ve seen the other guy” when someone points out a scratch on our hull?

So, let’s embrace our doubts, set sail into the unknown, and maybe, just maybe, become the slightly eccentric but deeply admired captains of our own lives.

After all, a life well-sailed is the best story of all.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Product + Content Marketing at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.