Last week I told you about the privilege and pleasure of being the skipper of a boat during my vacation. A few days after being skipper I spent another week on a boat, but this time as crew. My friend, John Fairweather, was the skipper.

I loved it. John set the course, assigned the tasks, taught us what we didn’t know, and double-checked our work. He carried the weight of the responsibility of the boat and the crew.

Because my week as skipper and then my week as crew were so close together, I was able to feel the difference in the weight very clearly. The skipper makes the final decision, knows the answer, is calm and confident. A question is asked, and everybody waits for the skipper to answer. On a boat at sea there is no higher authority.

This weight was lifted from me with John as skipper. Even when I was doing the same chore as the previous week such as plotting a course, piloting a channel, or setting an anchor, I knew that John was there. He verified, double-checked, decided.

Of course, skippers and business owner don’t know everything and aren’t always right. There are always unknowns and uncertainty. Ultimately, though, the outcome rests on the business owner. Thus the weight.

I’m a new skipper so I’m very aware that there’s an ocean of nautical knowledge and situations of which I have no clue (or clew). Whenever I’m the skipper, John is on my speed dial. He listens, he asks, he gives thoughtful advice. I’m still the skipper, but the weight of responsibility is eased.

The same is true of business owners. I did a detailed survey of business owners last year. I asked them what critical things they felt they needed to succeed. “Trusted advisor” topped the list.

Of course it did. Who else has the experience and knowledge? Who else knows what you’re going through? Where else can you candidly share your hopes and uncertainties so that, next day, you can calmly and confidently make the decisions that your staff need you to make?

There are now more resources than ever before for business owners. Ask around and find an experienced business person you can regularly chat with. And share the weight.

It makes a big – and wonderful – difference.