Editorial / 22 May 2022

Lessons learnt from a ship - the lady must prioritise!

by Miriam Mathews, Director of GAC Shipping (India) Private Limited

The closest epitome of ‘she’ in our lives are the ships we work with, night and day. Everything is important to the vessel. As an agent, we see ourselves hustling from the get-go to arrange for all her needs. There is no time to waste, and every requirement is more crucial than the next.

Most mornings when I wake up, the first coherent thoughts are about my tasks for the day. As I strive to ‘breathe in the fresh air’ and ‘enjoy the first sip of coffee’, my mind gets drawn to the things that need to be done and the urgency of it all.

After these years in the industry, I cannot help but draw some comparisons between the woman I am, and the ladies in my life – the majestic ships, for which we have bestowed the title of ‘she’. These ships have taught me many lessons. The one I’d pick for now, is to prioritise.

Miriam Mathews cropped

The Lady of the seas is certainly demanding, as should be if things need to get done. The Lady also understands that there must be a plan of action, a priority task list, and the patience to go through it without losing herself in the process.

It takes many hands to keep the engine running, and this support system is invaluable to all of us. However, she also realises that she comes first, and her other priorities drive the rest of the world!

If our sea-worthy ladies can figure this out, it’s a lesson to all of us, irrespective of gender, that we too can sail through better if we prioritise before going with the flow. Of course, everything is important and urgent, till we force ourselves to list what to do first.

The seas will continue to roar, challenges will be thrown our way, but perhaps we can learn to deal with them if we plot our course and understand what’s most important to tackle first.

After contemplation and much thought, I would like to believe that I now wake up with a blank slate. I know that my phone already contains the task list for the day, and there is no need for it to take up space in my head. I also know that I will spend some time to journal, plan the day, prioritise what’s most important and give myself some time too. In the long run it will works.

Every day may not see birdsong and sunshine, but with my priorities sorted, I sail through most storms easier than before!

And then came Monday morning, after a weekend of rest for the soul. The alarm goes off and the thoughts rush in. I remind myself yet again that mindfulness is key, and the day will pan out eventually. Easier said than done, as travel arrangements must be made, meetings must be set up, discussion preparation points from previous week musy be addressed, emails must be replied and the fire-fighting begins!

Despite the platitudes and tenets I claim to follow, it really does hit the fan sometimes! During such times, I tell myself, “If she can do this, then so can I!”

[This article was first published in the She Of Change shipping and logistics magazine at https://maritimesheeo.com/magazines/ on 18 May 2022.]

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