Entrepreneurs Need Viking Ships, Not Dinghies

More often than not we become like the people we're around. When you need to achieve big goals, you need the right people — you need Viking ships.

Photo: Shannon Thomas; Source: Courtesy Photo

More often than not we become like the people we’re around. Based on that, we must be cautious about whom we surround ourselves. And when you need to achieve big goals, you need the right people and resources — you need Viking ships.

“The Viking ship was perhaps the greatest technical and artistic achievement of the European dark ages. These fast ships had the strength to survive ocean crossings while having a draft of as little as 50cm (20 inches), allowing navigation in very shallow water.” They were built for tough and seemingly impossible feats.

Arguably the greatest achievement of the Vikings was their boat and shipbuilding. The Vikings were not the first people to build ships but they did build the best ships anyone had made up to that time.

The Vikings dominated, in part, because of their ships. “For three turbulent centuries, the glimpse of a square sail and dragon-headed prow on the horizon struck terror into the hearts of medieval Europeans. Indeed, the Viking Age, from A.D. 800-1100, was the age of the sleek, speedy longship. Without this crucial advance in ship technology, the Vikings would never have become a dominant force in medieval warfare, politics, and trade.”


Proof in the planking

Similarly, successful entrepreneurs who want to dominate understand the importance of their ships. We want and need people in our lives who are reliable and built to achieve great feats with us. This probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

When we have multiple irons in the fire simultaneously, we must learn to rely on others to help carry the load.


Photo: © Karamell, Gokstadskipet, Vikingskipmuseet, Oslo

If not, our best laid plans can go under with the smallest change in tide. All of the load we attempt to carry on our own becomes our greatest burden and ultimate downfall. Some of the load represent years of hard work and dedication. While other parts symbolize significant portions of our earthly financial abundance. When we aren’t equipped with the right resources to carry the load, we falter … and some never set sail.


Set sail for success

With all of that said, how can entrepreneurs set sail for success? Smart business owners surround themselves with Viking ships, not dinghies. Viking ships can be likened to people in an entrepreneur’s life who are dependable. They were built tough to succeed, just like you. They do what they say they are going to do. They don’t capsize under the weight of normal demands.


Entrepreneurs Need Viking Ships
Photo: © esebene, YFS Magazine

In contrast, dinghies are those smaller boats, often carried or towed for use by a much larger vessel. While they have a purpose, they can’t be compared to Viking ships.

Viking ships can be co-founders, advisors, mentors, suppliers, employees, independent contractors or people who provide support outside of the professional sphere.

As independent as most entrepreneurs can be, it is vital to recognize we can’t be everything our business requires to thrive. Sure, in the beginning we wear many hats to survive. But as business grows, the capacity diminishes. You need others who are built like you to help carry the load and navigate rough waters.

Otherwise, we find ourselves anchored to dinghies. 

You know the type. The folks that continuously grumble and complain about life and work. Perhaps these are vendors who say they will deliver a quality product at a specified date and never meet their deadlines or quality assurance.

A dinghy can also be someone in your personal life who is inconsistent and the source of continuous anxiety and stress. They might be that fair-weather friend who shows up when it’s convenient for them to pick your brain, but disappears when entrepreneurship life becomes tough.


Built to last

I sincerely hope you are surrounded by Viking ships. People who are out there on your behalf holding weight you don’t need to carry. On the other hand, if you look around into a sea of dinghies that could be sunk by the slightest wave, it’s time to re-evaluate who you’ll navigate with on this journey.


This article has been edited.

Shannon Thomas, LCSW is a licensed clinical social work supervisor, the owner and lead therapist of an award-winning private practice-counseling agency in Southlake, Texas and best-selling author of “Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse.” For more tips and information, visit Shannonthomas.com.



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