The dock sways beneath your feet as you jog breathlessly down its length to catch the water taxi that will take you to your destination across the bay.
Reaching the spot where you planned to jump aboard, you realize the boat, released from its moorings, has backed away from the pier and is making its pivot turn toward deeper water.
You missed the boat!
Frustrated, you throw your hands in the air with a growl for all your effort to make it on time! As you settle into reality, however, you resolve to wait for the next ferry going your way. There will be another in a few hours and again tomorrow and the day after that!
So you missed the boat! So what! What do you make missing the boat mean?
Of course, the story above is describing a literal boat and by missing it, you won’t get across the bay within the time frame you had hoped for, but what about life in general? Most of us are familiar with the meaning of the idiom “missing the boat”. Cambridge Idioms Dictionary describes it as “failing to take advantage of an opportunity” and “to be too late to get something that you want”.
Has that happened to you?
Have you been too late to get something that you want?
Have you failed to take advantage of an opportunity?
My guess is that you have from time to time. Or maybe you have made a habit of missing the boat and never quite getting where you want to go. I am familiar with those patterns and what we make missing the boat mean about who we are. I could certainly coach you so you don’t miss your ship, but today I want to take a bit of a different approach.
What if missing the boat was the best thing that could happen to you? What?!?
How could that possibly be?
Stay with me for a minute, okay?
Let’s just say you are timely and organized and when it is time for the boat to put out to sea,
You. Are. On. It.
But what if the craft you got on wasn’t even YOUR boat?
What if it was a boat designed for someone else’s passage?
Or what if it was yesterday’s boat and it keeps taking you to the same place day after endless day?
Are you moving, yet feeling stuck? Do you find yourself doing the same things day after day with the same result? Your head is above the water (barely) and you are treading up a storm, but not getting anywhere, right?
See, just getting on the boat isn’t enough.
Sometimes it is choosing the right vessel for the right reason at the right time.
Where is it you want to go? What is the BEST way to get there?
Maybe it’s time to “sit on the dock of the bay and watch the tide roll away”.
Excuse the song reference here, but unlike our singer who actually thinks he did “miss the boat” and that “nothing’s gonna change”, your sitting time might just be the space you need to take a deep breath and discover how and where you want to sail.
I’ve made the boat and I’ve missed the boat! I have been on the wrong ship going somewhere I didn’t want to go. I have been on the same vessel day after day, thinking it was so cool to be moving, but finally realizing I was going to the same places day after day and not getting any closer to my dreams.