5 Lessons Surfing Has Taught Me About Business
1. When the peak of the wave changes, move your ass and reposition yourself
Sometimes when you paddle out to the line up, your starting point is where you think the peak of the break is. But the “peak” of a wave has a tendency to shift and doesn’t always break at the exact same place. So you have two options when you realize you are no longer in the optimal position: 1) do nothing and hope the peak will shift back to you or 2) put some effort to paddle and reposition yourself at the peak.
Business lesson: when your original idea doesn’t work, get off your ass and do something about it. Put in the effort to reposition yourself.
2. When you go for a wave, go strong
Once the time has come and you see a wave coming with your name on it, get focused and ready to charge. Don’t hesitate or doubt. Make sure your positioning and timing is right and then go for it at full force… paddle hard, paddle hard, paddle hard.
Business lesson: if you want to accomplish something well, there is no better substitute than focus and hard work.
3. Don’t always wait for the big wave, some of the little ones can be fun too
It’s always fun to drop in on a big set wave. There’s no feeling like it. But sometimes those big waves don’t come around and you sit around waiting and waiting and waiting. And then that big set comes and something happens and you miss it (you’re in the wrong position, too many people on it, it’s closing out, etc.). Meanwhile, while you’re waiting for the big ones, there might be some perfect, smaller waves you’re missing that can be just as fun in the inside, and you can probably catch a lot more of those.
Business lesson: don’t always go for the big home run, small wins can be just as good (if not better).
4. “Holy shit moments” make you a better surfer
Most of us at some point have gone out on a day that was scary and way too big for our comfort zone. You have the first “holy shit moment” when you’re on land watching the break, a bigger one when you’re paddling out, and a semi cardiac event when you drop in and charge that monster wave. Yes, it can be dangerous… but once in a while it’s an important boost to bring your confidence and surfing to a higher level.
Business lesson: getting out of your comfort zone usually has positive implications and helps you grow.
5. It’s not about the conditions, it’s about you the surfer
Not every day is perfect and you’ll probably surf a lot more average (or crappy) days than amazing ones. But most of us still go out and have fun for the pure enjoyment of surfing. Sometimes the simple fact that you are in the water paddling around is enough to put a smile on your face. Whether you’re riding an amazing shiny new board or a shitty old one, big day or small day, sunny or overcast… it’s all gravy baby.
Business lesson: it’s hard to find perfect conditions in any business setting and too many variables are out of your control so try to approach every day with a positive attitude and enjoy it.
Photo by @jacobclarkephotos