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What to do when the conditions are against you

- Posted byHannah Miller

I don’t have a great track record with boats.

I’ve been hit on the head by the boom of a yacht. Think Mr Bean.

I’ve quite spectacularly capsized from a canoe that left me black and blue.

I’ve emptied the contents of my stomach on a choppy boat to Mykonos – not my finest or most glamorous hour. It was carnage: queasy passengers, black bags and buckets ahoy.

The idea of a cruise holiday, or something involving the potential of long periods of time in a boat, does not fill me with joy or excitement.

Having said all this, I do love the sea. It gives me such a sense of perspective. I can’t wait to not only see it but get in it again! 

I’ve been following an amazing ocean-based adventure online. One of my clients told me about it and it’s been fantastic to track the progress.

Flo, Hannah and Georgie are currently rowing across the Atlantic.

It’s a 3,000 mile endeavour, and they are aiming to become the world record holders of Youngest and Fastest Female Trio. I’m so impressed and as much as I would love to think an adventure like that is in me, I think my previous history suggests it’s unlikely (I reckon I could be a great cox though – but my family say I’m far too big – after a bit of googling I think this might be a myth and I have perhaps missed out on my life’s purpose).

At the time of writing, the girls are closing in on finishing.

Here’s an update from last weekend:

Which reminded me of a Latin proverb I recently read:


Ever felt like you’re waiting for the perfect conditions, for you to feel ready, for the safety net to be right there waiting for you to make the change you’re looking for?

Ever hoped that it would come a little bit easier, that there wouldn’t be quite the slog involved?

I’m sure the Atlantic Antics team have enjoyed some days when conditions have been just what they’ve needed, and they’ve made great progress. But what should they do when the weather is not on their side?

Sit there, and wait to be rescued?

Lose all the progress they have made?

Well of course none of us think that – we would be the first to cheer and shout and tell them to dig in, that the finishing line is so near, just push against the tide and go for it regardless.


I’ve needed reminding of this so many times, especially this past year.

When my work diary was suddenly completely empty in lockdown one.

When I was writing my course, and it seemed never-ending, and could I even do it?

When my boys had their schooling disrupted yet again.

When family have seemed so far away.

When I’ve doubted whether I could pull it off.

Row, Hannah, row.


I wonder whether you need reminding of this today:

Don’t lose the progress you have made because the going has got tough.

Just row.

If you feel like your rowing effort is so minimal that you might just be treading water – that’s OK. Row.

When you are second-guessing yourself, asking what is the point, or what is my purpose. Row.

If you’re trying to make a change, a career change, a personal change, and there’s obstacle after obstacle. Row.

When the wind isn’t in your sails, dig in, pick up those oars and give it one last push. Row.

The wind will be your friend again soon.


So, dear friends, let’s take inspiration from Hannah, Georgie and Flo.

When we feel like we are on our last legs, there’s always a little bit more in the tank*


Hannah x



*Apparently there is a lot more in the tank than you realise (not just a little bit but about 60% more). Might write a bit more about this another time!

P.S. If you’re new to the sidetrack, welcome! If there is anyone who you think might enjoy this dose of Wednesday optimism, please do send a link to this page to them – or they can up to receive it direct to their inbox here!

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