Perform in the storm

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Supportive Environment

Due to the Corona pandemic, most of us, the ones who don’t have to leave their house to perform critical jobs, are by now living and working (fulltime) in the confined space of our homes.

While this new situation is disruptive in many ways, it is comforting to know that there are many things that we can do to stay healthy and productive while navigating the current Corona storm.

Someone who has extensive experience of operating in a confined space for long periods of time, while keeping motivation and performance high is Berend van de Kraats, a former submarine captain with more than a decade of experience of being at sea, and that is why we have asked him to share his experiences here with us today.

Former submarine captain Berend van de Kraats on creating a supportive environment in confined spaces

Key insights

  • Get a structure going: A basic structure will do for now. You have to get out of the harbour safely. Concentrate on standard routines around meal times, study hours, exercise, cleaning etc. and correct procedures. “You will have to put in some effort, but the hard work now will set a standard for the weeks to come.”

  • Define your mission: What are we here to do? What do we want to get out of this? “Invest time to create a compelling mission statement, together. Be sure that all members of the team are on board. The statement must leave room for individual endeavours. Integration of these individual stories in the overall story is part of the next phase of our journey”.

  • Hard on the task, soft on the person: “Be clear in what you ask of each other, and create a space for vulnerability. Create opportunities for people to connect and lead by example by opening up. Although possibly awkward in the beginning, this will turn out to be your lifeline when going gets tough. And, as in every journey, tough times will come. Often when least expected.”

  • Give it some time: “Departure was always chaos. Give yourself and the people around you some time to get accustomed to the new situation. Irritations, fatigue and other discomforts are part of the game. They often indicate that everyone is working hard in making this journey worthwhile. Keeping that engagement, that’s the key of this game”.

  • Enjoy the positive effects of the change of setting: “Cherry pick the moments of the obligatory slowing down”. At sea there was a lot we would miss by not being connected to home. But a sunrise coffee on the open bridge of a submarine was something that always made me feel a blessed person! Define and drive those moments…

Dive deeper

Can you do what Martin can?

To help you keep your energy levels high and stay positive throughout your day it is essential to take breaks regularly. To help you get more out of your downtime, Martin Pet, a seasoned sport and performance psychologist and physiologist, will challenge you to perform a wide range of exercises that will do just that.

Martin Pet explains what we're going to do in the coming weeks and gives you a first challenging assignment

About the crew member

Berend van de Kraats • Former submarine captain
Berend van de Kraats

Berend is a former submarine Captain Royal Netherlands Navy. Nowadays Berend uses his knowledge to support companies and individuals with his initiative OceansX, a do-tank, catalyzing collective potential around social issues. Perform in the storm is the fourth movement to which OceansX is contributing.

Your journey until now


Supportive Environment

Former submarine captain Berend van de Kraats shares his underwater experience

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