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Overcoming Negative Beliefs and Restoring a 1940s Motor Yacht

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

Lessons for Success in Work and Life

Restoring a custom wooden motor yacht from 1940 is a labor of love that requires grit, determination, and an open mind to new experiences. The qualities necessary to complete such a massive project can also be applied to daily work life, allowing you to overcome negative beliefs, learn new skills, and accomplish great things.

We were looking for a boat with lots of character, and after laying our eyes on the “Eslo” we knew we had found our boat. The musty smell of old diesel oil and Victorian eras overtook us as we entered. It took some vision to look beyond the peeling paint, frumpy embroidery galore, and a staggering amount of old picture frames. Yet we recognized its "good bones" and pictured a fresh and retro-looking boat with neat little seating areas throughout. However, the looks on neighbors' faces around our quint marina suggested we had completely lost our minds.

Picture frames and embroidery galore

When I started restoring the 47" "Elso", I was overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the project. The boat had been neglected for years; the wood was rotten, the paint peeled away in layers, and the machinery rusted. I began to tackle this massive job ahead of me: window to window and deck to deck. Slowly but surely, a new boat emerged under my hands.

Granted, my husband dealt with the engine room, new oven, electrical, sanding, and any other task I asked him for help with (thank you, honey!!), but it was mainly up to me.

The wheelhouse roof had rampant wood rot 🫣

The key to the restoration project was breaking it down into manageable tasks. With each window I fixed, each piece of wood I repaired, and each coat of paint I applied, I gained confidence and learned new skills. As the boat began to take shape, I realized I had the tenacity and grit to accomplish something that had once seemed unthinkable.

In daily work life, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of tasks ahead of us. We might feel like we're not equipped to finish a project or that it's simply too much for us.

But just as with our boat restoration, it's essential to break down tasks into manageable pieces. By taking on one task at a time and approaching each with a positive mindset, we can build the confidence and skills necessary to tackle even the most challenging projects.

The restoration process also taught me the importance of facing my belief systems. At first, I struggled with negative thoughts, like "I'm not equipped, or strong enough, to finish this," or "This is too much for me." Recaulking an old wooden boat with cotton and a chisel? Yup, I did just that! (Thank you, YouTube!!) All kidding aside, by pushing through these thoughts and working on our boat day after day, month after month, I gradually overcame these negative feelings. I learned that with enough determination and an open mind, I could accomplish things I never thought possible.

In work life, too, it's important to identify negative beliefs that may be holding us back. By challenging these beliefs and replacing them with positive ones, we can build resilience and overcome obstacles. Instead of thinking "I can't do this," we can see obstacles as opportunities and reframe our thoughts to "I can learn to do this," or "I can ask for help if I need it."

As I continued restoring the “Elso," I found that the work itself was incredibly therapeutic. Singing along to my favorite playlists, repairing the wood, and painting away cans and cans of paint, I found myself becoming more focused and centered. The restoration process became a kind of meditation, allowing me to clear my mind and focus on the task at hand.

The power of perseverance

Restoring this old boat is a labor of love that requires grit and determination, but the rewards are well worth it. As I continue this massive project, I will approach it with confidence and a newfound appreciation for the power of perseverance.

About the author

Bouwien (Bo) Luppes is a serial solopreneur and CTA-certified life coach with a global perspective. She has launched six successful solo businesses across three countries and two continents, enriching her with extensive experience and knowledge of the challenges of female solo entrepreneurs. Merging this experience with her passion for supporting others led her to establish Coach 4 Solopreneurs, where she provides support and guidance to fellow solo entrepreneurs.


Unknown member
Jul 20, 2023

Thank you for sharing your insight. I needed this right now, as I'm feeling overwhelmed right now. The other subliminal insight I took from this is to "get-out-of-my-own-way". Thank you so much!


Unknown member
May 18, 2023

what great insight and advice! And an amazing restoration of a yacht so many would over look - but you saw the good bones and and with your vision, perseverance, and mindset you transformed her into her shiny state. A great analogy for life!

Thank you for your insightful message of breaking things down into manageable steps….. less daunting and way more empowering!

one step at a time.

Unknown member
May 18, 2023
Replying to

Thanks, Denise 😘

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