“Get back on board, dammit!”
Those were the words of Italian Coast Guard Gregorio de Falco to Captain Francesco Schettino while he was abandoning his ship, leaving 4,200 people on board to perish (at least 12 died).
When you “mess up” and difficulty strikes, how do you handle it?
Do you take responsibility, do whatever it takes to make it right, step up and take action (like the Coast Guard)… or do you shirk responsibility, leave the scene of the disaster you created and start looking for someone else to blame (like the Captain)?
The translated exchange between the Captain and Coast Guard is transcribed below. In parenthesis are examples of excuses we might use in our daily lives for not taking responsibility for common failures.
(This isn’t what I envisioned for my life. But I don’t really want to change, please…)
Captain: Please …
Coast Guard: There is no ‘please’ about it. Get back on board.
(But I send out résumés, I leave messages for my prospects, I mail letters…)
Captain: I am here to coordinate the rescue.
Coast Guard (interrupting): What are you coordinating there! Get on board! Coordinate the rescue from on board!
(It’s not my job, the president is supposed to fix it, when Monday comes…)
Captain: (inaudible)… there is another lifeboat…
Coast Guard (interrupting, yelling): You get back on board! That is an order! There is nothing else for you to consider. Now I am giving the orders. Get back on board, dammit! Is that clear? Don’t you hear me?
Captain: I am going aboard.
(The market is down, no one is hiring, our industry is in a recession…)
Captain: Look, chief, I want to go aboard but the other lifeboat here has stopped and is drifting. I have called …
Coast Guard (interrupting): You have been telling me this for an hour! Now, go aboard! Get on board!
The Captain never returned to the ship. According to the harbor master’s office, which notes the final exchange as occurring at 1:46 a.m., Capt. Schettino sought refuge on a rock at 12:30 a.m. Witnesses said he did not return to the ship to run the rescue operations, which went on until 6 a.m.
Tweet from an Italian boy named Salvatore Garzillo: “The next time someone asks me what I want to be when I grow up I am going to say: ‘a man like De Falco.’”
I’ve fallen off my diet. Get back on board!
I haven’t made my prospecting calls. Get back on board!
I haven’t been tracking my new success behaviors. Get back on board!
I stopped using the Living Your Best Year Ever Weekly Rhythm Register. Get back on board!
I’ve missed our weekly date night. Get back on board!
I haven’t been praising my team like I said I would. Get back on board!
I skipped a couple of workouts. Get back on board!
I’m off track on my goals. Get back on board!
Whatever mistakes you have made, how ever you have messed up, no matter what disaster your results might be right now, have Coast Guard Gregorio de Falco’s voice ring in your head, “Get back on board, dammit!”
Where have you abandoned ship in your life or on your goals? Tell us how you are going to “get back on board” in the comments below.