West Palm Journal: January 24

Best day yet.

Fascinating to watch the pelicans skim inches above the waves, effortlessly adjusting altitude perfectly for a wave or rock. These are superb motor skills at work. I estimate that the birds are zipping by, with a following wind, at about 25 miles per hour. Touching a wing, foot, or tail feather in the water could create a catastrophic aerodynamic breakdown.

But on they soar, rarely flapping a wing, ideal thermals, I guess, inches from the brine. I’m thinking that what they are doing is exactly what superb professionals do: athletes, performers, surgeons, and, yes, consultants. Top performers viscerally react, they don’t analyze, call a meeting, or engage in self-doubt.

They call for the ball, throw themselves into the part, immediately tie-off a bleeding artery, and quickly respond to a client request with valued advice. The pelicans rely on their great natural skills and experience. So do outstanding professionals.

Analysis is often for protection and to avert all risk; meetings are ostensibly for “inclusion” but in reality are huge wastes of time, moving things from one easel sheet to another; and self-doubt is a huge sacrifice of time (I can’t readily thing of anything so utterly unproductive).

I imagine occasionally a pelican gets wet, and then realized it won’t be so catastrophic, since they are normally diving head first from 20 feet to catch fish. If they can survive that, they can readily take the risk of skimming the waves at great speed.

So can we all.

Dinner tonight at the Flagler Steak House with friends we haven’t seen in 8 years. I first met Bob when I was working in Princeton and he had a firm in northern Jersey.

Dinner is fabulous, outrageous steaks (welcome to the $50 entrée), with a 1990 Mayacamus cabernet, which is simply spectacular. Charlie Sheehan saunters by our table. Back at the hotel, bidding goodnight, there are two Bentleys and two Rolls parked in the porte cochere. One of the Bentleys is my model, in blue. A black tie event is just breaking up inside. We say goodnight to our friends and enjoy our final night.


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