Life Lessons From A World Sailor

David Ward is a life long sailor, successful businessman and owner/director of classic VW spare parts firm VW Heritage. The business, built from a two-man show into a multi-million pound firm, is thriving, despite the recent recession. David puts this success down to heart-felt leadership and decent values.  In this article, David describes his recent ocean voyages across the Mediterranean and reflects on how his adventures and challenges at sea have taught him key lessons about contented living, business success and gratitude.

Feel the fear and do it anyway

I’ve been sailing for over three decades and in that time I’ve seen more gifted and experienced sailors than myself. You either catch the buzz or you don’t. And like anything that takes a lifetime to master you discover things about yourself and life’s journey along the way.

I set sail from Brighton Marina to Cadiz, Spain, in my Beneteau 461 Yacht, Steelaway. It was a beautiful day with just the right amount of offshore wind and a gentle southerly breeze. I always experience a certain amount of anxiety before setting sail on a long journey. It’s the same at the beginning of any new venture, it can be dangerous and you never truly know what’s up ahead. My relationship with sailing has always been ambivalent. There are times when I think ‘God knows why I do this?’ but once I’ve cast off and I’m sailing into unfamiliar waters I think ‘This is the best thing ever!’ By the end of the second day we were sailing along the Costa Blanca where the white capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada rise majestically from the ocean, while dolphins swam alongside the boat.  If I’d let my anxiety get the better of me, I would have never experienced such beauty.

Batten down the hatches

Decide what your goal is, plan and prepare well, then go for it. Procrastination is the death knell of success, and fun!

We attempted to cross the Coast of Death on the Bay of Biscay off the Spanish Celtic region of Galicia. It was our second try. One month before, we’d been beaten back by poor weather conditions, and after 29 exhausting hours of battling against squalls and a wind that refused to settle down, we limped back to Brest in the south of France. This time, we had learned our lesson, or so we believed. With a favorable weather forecast, we planned a 3 1/2 day crossing. The only problem was, we were one crew-member down. How would we fair, just the two of us in volatile waters?  We set sail across the deep Atlantic accompanied by glorious weather and a whale graced us with its presence. But it wasn’t long before we realized a storm was heading our way. To race ahead of the storm, we started pushing the boat harder. It wasn’t looking good, we were frightened but we just got on with it. With harnesses on, we strapped ourselves in to the back of the boat. After a grueling few hours, we were back sailing in the direction of Al Corunna without a storm in sight. Contrary to our expectations, we arrived 12 hours ahead of schedule.

A ‘fighting spirit’ is key to success. For me, this means having the strength and determination to see a quest through to its successful completion, no matter what threatens to capsize the endeavor. It’s the same in business, the more uncomfortable I feel, the harder I work.

The power of gratitude

Success will follow if everybody on board clearly knows what the goals and objectives are. But success is a lot more than just good planning and clear communication. I try to understand and value each and every crew member, and keep them happy and feeling appreciated. That way you make the right decisions for the whole rather than the part, and avoid mutiny in the process! Success is about valuing what you have. It’s about sustaining a perspective of profound gratitude, and for me, this really is a formula for happiness and success.

In my hallway at home there is a meter long photograph of all the people who have helped me or shown me kindness in some way, whether it be big or small, at crucial times in my life and business career. There are about one hundred people, all standing and smiling in a long line on Brighton beach – with the sea as a backdrop. It serves as a poignant reminder to me that it’s never a solo journey; you always need the support of others to make progress.

 David Ward is the Director of UK based online firm VW Heritage, which supplies vintage out of production spare parts for classic VWs and helps enthusiasts keep their vehicles on the road.



8-Year-Old Violinist Excels Despite Hand Disability

How often do we come across situations in our daily lives where we just shake our heads and decide we can't do something? Typically, we have the luxury of this choice, but for some people, "can't" is not an option. Meet Nickie Alarie, age 8, who was born with a hand deformity which significantly limits her use of this "small" hand to a low range of capability. But don't think for a minute that she considers her condition an obstacle.

Keep reading... Show less

New Baby, New Life – Welcome Freya! - The Creation of Us (S2:E10)

On Friday October 4th, 2019, at 10:13 AM, Christen and Heather welcomed their baby girl into the world. Their 8 pound, 4 ounce, 20 inch bundle of joy came into their lives and instantly stole their hearts. In this milestone episode of The Creation Of Us, we join the new parents as they celebrate Freya Loren Fazzino becoming the newest member of their family.

Keep reading... Show less

Family and Friends Help Teacher Become a Bakery Owner - Vines Bakery

Vines Bakery got its start when Julianna Hritz finally listened to her heart instead of her head. She graduated in 2016 from Ashland University with a degree in Family and Consumer Science Education. When she was handed her diploma, she decided her heart wasn't in the public school classroom and took a leap of faith to follow her childhood dream instead.

Keep reading... Show less

Community Organization Fueled By Kindness And Causes

Have you ever had a moment when you felt you just couldn't go on? Home, job, relationship… all in tatters? Bree Pear faced this moment. She struggled with ways to face her adversity, and eventually found a way forward to a better place. Her journey is the origination story for the company she founded called "Only Human" – a community of good humans doing good things for good causes.

Keep reading... Show less

Student’s High Five Inspires a Movement

Despite his cerebral palsy, Jeremy Grace has a pretty positive outlook on life. He typically goes through his day at the London Central Secondary School in Ontario with a smile and keeps a sharp eye out for classmates who may be struggling and could use a lift. One day recently, when a good friend was having a bad day, Jeremy attempted to turn her day around, and gave her a high five. From this spark, the "Up High Movement" was born.

Keep reading... Show less

Autistic Basketball Champ Teaches Kids Hope With Hoops

How would you feel if a team of medical specialists reviewed your background and declared, at the age of 5, that because you had Autism, you would never be successful academically, that you would likely not graduate from high school much less go to college, and that being an athlete was out of the question. Anthony Ianni faced that future and just flat out refused to accept it – he ignored what the doctors said, set goals, worked hard, and created his own destiny.

Keep reading... Show less

How To Make Memorable Birthdays for Hospitalized Kids

Kids rarely get to celebrate when they are in the hospital and having a birthday there is not the ideal situation. After seeing her godson spend some time in the hospital, surrounded by kids who were having their birthdays without the laughter and joy that comes with their special day, Stefanie Grimm had an idea. Even if you are hospitalized, there is no reason that you shouldn't have a birthday party! This generous thought was the seed that grew into The Confetti Foundation.

Keep reading... Show less

Turkeys Prepare For A Happy Thanksgiving - Life on the Farm (E2)

Thanksgiving is near and the turkeys of Millstone Farm are ready to get moving! Although they're not sure where they're going, their hilarious banter is quite the sight to see! Onward, to the Thanksgiving table!

Keep reading... Show less
Watch and Subscribe
It's a Positivity Movement
OnlyGood TV on YouTube


Get your Only Good TV Newsletter