Chat with...Jeremy Cage, a Darien author who sailed around the world

DARIEN — When Jeremy Cage and his wife, Pat, first got married, they went into separate rooms and listed out their dreams by priority. They then shared their lists with each other to see what dreams they shared and what dreams they could support each other on. Both of them listed traveling and sailing around the world as high priorities.

When their children were 10 and 12, they decided to make one of their dreams a reality and the family of four set sail around the world for 16 months on a 43-foot Catamaran called “Hakuna Matata.”

“It was a fun, exciting adventure,” Cage said.

In order to take the trip, Cage took a sabbatical from PepsiCo, where he was working at the time. His boss agreed to the sabbatical under the condition Cage put together a leadership program based on what the experience taught him when he was completed the trip. Cage did and then began teaching the program through PepsiCo and other Fortune 500 companies. The program eventually became the basis of Cage’s consulting firm, The Cage Group, and of his book “All Dreams on Deck: Charting the Course for Your Life and Work,” released on Jan. 17, eight years after he and his family settled in Darien following their trip.

“I think everyone needs a life mission,” Cage said. “I feel I’m here to help as many people as possible to unleash their potential.”

The book encourages readers to attain their dreams by laying out a plan to achieve them, interwoven with his tale of traveling across the sea. Cage encourages readers to prioritize what to bring in their “lifeboat,” state their intentions, focus on preparation and summon the courage to propel themselves toward accomplishments big and small, from career goals to fitness goals.

“I think dreams are the most powerful force on the planet,” Cage said. “The amount of priority we give our dreams is woefully insufficient.”

Cage encourages his readers to dream in specifics and worry vaguely, a flip from the mind-set most people have.

“We dream vaguely and dread specifically,” Cage said. “Because our dreams are vague, all the obstacles get in the way.”

Cage said this mind-set leaked into his own sailing trip, but he abolished it by setting specific goals and milestones to achieve before the trip. He and his wife agreed their children needed to be old enough to remember the trip when they went, but not so old it would interfere with high school, helping them decide to go when the kids were in fifth and seventh grades. In preparation, Cage took marine diesel mechanics classes, while his wife got marine medical training. Both were trained in what to do if they needed to abandon ship, and the children took navigation classes so they could take over the boat if need be.

This was part of another crucial aspect of Cage’s plan to achieve dreams: planning and preparation.

“What happens through these actions is you’re building your courage muscle,” Cage said. “You can do all the work, but with no courage to set sail, what’s going to happen? The first night out, we were petrified. Fast forward to when we were in the Galapagos, preparing to sail down the south Pacific, you’d have thought we were going for a day sail, though it was longer and more dangerous. But we’d already done it. The more we build our courage, the more prepared we’ll be.”

Cage said there were, of course, people who doubted his family’s ability to achieve their dream. But he said sharing his dream with others was a key part of helping achieve it.

“Create a community to talk about it and lift you up,” he said. “You’re always going to have doubters, but at the end of the day, you make the decision.”

While Cage’s expertise is in sailing and business, he said his tips can be applied to help achieve any dream.

“The balance I’ve tried to strike is to think of all proponents in my life,” he said. “You need dreams for all parts of your life.”; @erin_kayata