There is a great danger to working in public.

Everyone can see what you’re doing.

In the days of canvas sails and lumber ships, sailors would use a gaff — a long hook on a pole — to handle all manner of tasks on a ship:

Untangling the sheets and sails;

Salvaging flotsam and jetsam;

Mooring the tender barges;

Heaving fish or careless deckhands from the swell;

And whacking pirates on the head.

The scariest part of a gaff isn’t the bloody great hook on the end — everyone can see when we’re using it.

It’s hard not to notice a ten-foot pole with a hook on the end.

So it doesn’t matter how often we unravelled the rigging or rescued a landlubber with it — nobody will congratulate us for the times we do things well.

But if we poke someone’s eye out, everyone on the boat will jump on our error.

That doesn’t mean we should avoid gaffs altogether.

That would mean doing nothing at all.

And you don’t get to Captain a ship by risking nothing.