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Process Really Counts

Alan Smith
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As the sun returns to parts of the UK this week, we all should massively take care of ourselves and our loved ones as the lure of the cooling effects of water drag us to the seaside and our local wild swimming areas.

Furlough did a number of things, one of which has been the massive increase in popularity of things like Wild Swimming and SUP (stand up paddleboarding). The weather has been one positive for those of us forced to give up work for the duration, and I’m delighted to be returning to work, and have enormous sympathy for those not so fortunate. I really hope things work out.

I am also fortunate to live by the coast, and have taken up Paddle Boarding, taking lessons with Brad in East Sussex, an absurdly tanned good-looking dude. I was keen to buy a board from him, sadly no deals are available as he has been offered full asking price. You try getting a board! Sold out everywhere. I suggested a price hike or a bundle deal including lessons. He looked at me like the Bread Head I clearly am.

Anyway, back to my point. 

I was talking to a friend of mine who volunteers for the RNLI, a real hero, who was bemoaning the fact that this weekend was likely to be very busy in call outs, so whilst you are enjoying a BBQ in the garden spare a thought for another group that serves.

I also read in the news today about the remarkable young boy who survived for an hour after being washed out to sea and was subsequently rescued by the Coast Guard.

The 10-year-old was playing in the sea near Scarborough and was dragged out to sea by a freak wave, which then swept him across the entire bay.

The fact that this horrid story ends so well is down to the fact that the youngster had been fortunate enough to watch an RNLI program on the BBC, which gave advice as to how to react in such circumstances. Essentially the advice is to not struggle and fight to get back to shore in these situations as the likelihood is that the exhaustion that will ensue is real.

Instead, the advice is to stay relaxed and float on your back with spread arms and legs and wait to be rescued. Which is exactly what he did.

Lee Marton, coxswain at Scarborough lifeboat station, said: "We were told he'd been watching lifeboat rescues on tv and had followed the advice given on the show.

"We're very much in awe of this incredible lad, who managed to remain calm and follow safety advice to the letter in terrifying and stressful circumstances. Had he not, the outcome might have been very different."

Often, we need to rely on process, particularly when in times of extreme stress.

This is something that has been part of my life and work for the last 14 years.

As a consultant in the area of negotiations, I often encounter people in situations when they feel a bit lost at sea, and figuring out their position and potential options, whilst not life savers take a lot of pain out of the situation and give control which often builds confidence.

This weekend take care if you are around water.

You can watch the RNLI saving lives at sea on iPlayer. More info here.

Alan Smith
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Keep Cool
Would You Risk It?
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