In the old times, people would send out ships--or, more literally, missives or investment money or goods or loved ones--and wait for something to come back to them. Some ships, and their corresponding goods, would never come back, lost or wrecked in a storm. But some would come back with untold treasures and gold aboard.
Even though there was risk involved, sending out ships was the only way they could possibly return with gold. If you didn't send your ship, there would be no chance of treasure coming into port.
This idea, I believe, is pretty applicable to our careers and lives today, too. I first learned about the concept from Chellie Campbell's The Wealthy Spirit, and I have since adapted the concept and defined a "ship" to be anything that's outbound and new.
For example, I was a concert pianist before I became an "accidental entrepreneur"--chemical-filled body lotions were giving me allergic reactions, so I began to concoct my own all-natural versions in my Manhattan kitchen. As I began to share them with stores and spas, I first started using the "ship" concept: Each day, I'd send out "ships" to potential customers, the media, and more. People started to ask me how I was able to gain success quickly, and so I founded Savor the Success, a women's business network. Today I've mentored thousands of women to "send out their ships!"--and the gold that's returned has been everything from Today Show appearances and million-dollar sales to new partnerships and even lifelong friendships.
So what about you? If you want to apply for a new job, a ship could be sending off your resume to a dream company--even if it doesn't have a position listed--or asking an interesting contact for an informational interview. If you want to get PR for your startup or freelance business, it could be sending out a pitch or signing up for a class on how to do it. You can even apply this to your personal life: If you want to go on a great date, it could be messaging a potential love interest or asking a friend to make an introduction. In short, a "ship" is simply taking the proactive first step and putting an ask or idea out there.
Of course, sending out ships can be intimidating (by its very definition, a ship has to sail through uncharted waters), which is why we often stay in the status quo and keep our ships at home. Plus, there's no guarantee what might come back as a response. Maybe nothing!
But maybe something--something big--and you'll never know if you don't try.
So here's my challenge to you: Commit to sending out one to three ships every single day. Over time, this will change your career, your business, and your life, more than any other resolution can. Better yet, the more you do it, the easier it will start to feel. At first, you might send out "easy" ships--something akin to a ship that only sails across the harbor and back. But as you graduate to larger ships that explore big oceans, you'll start to dream of bigger ideas--and the rewards that come back will be bigger and better than you could have ever dreamed.