Navigating Success: Are You a Tugboat or a Lighthouse? – #0018

Coming from Portsmouth, please forgive me for this maritime analogy. But when I was shown this 4 or 5 years ago, it really set something off in me and changed my outlook and behaviour, so I thought I would share with you.

Same Outcome, Different Approach

If you want to be successful you HAVE to know how to deal with people. There is no such thing as “self-made”. You will need a team, a support network, suppliers, and customers. So, when it comes to motivating others, managing relationships, getting the best from people within your business, and ensuring they are the best version of themselves outside of work…are you a tugboat or a lighthouse?

The objective of these 2 maritime giants is the same. To ensure ships don’t get into trouble at sea. The methods they use to achieve this shared desired outcome are very different.

The Tugboat

The tugboat goes out day after day, night after night and literally drags the other sea craft to safety. It returns home, battered, bruised and scratched up with its fuel tank totally empty. That’s if its lucky. There are plenty of tales of the well-intended tugboat being dragged into trouble on a rescue mission. Finding itself nestling at the bottom of the ocean alongside its intended patient.

Then we have the Lighthouse

The lighthouse also wants sea craft to be safe. Standing proudly on the rocks shining bright, using far less energy. Sure, it needs a new paint job once a decade and the occasional bulb changed, but its energy is preserved and it guides the way, shows the best path and does this for many more ships, often at once, than the one on one relationship the tugboat has to have. It also never sinks when conducting its mission.


When it comes to managing people…which you will HAVE to do to achieve your business goals. When it comes to ensuring those around you are the best they can be. When you need your support network onside and engaged, which are you? Ive been both in the past sure.

Are you the tugboat, dragging people over the finish line, doing the work for them, getting emotionally involved and often sinking? Or are you the lighthouse, leading by example, shining bright and SHOWING the way not TELLING?

People will always follow your example over your instructions. They will notice your actions, far more than your words.

Something to think about?

Let’s win together!

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