Surf’s up big time in Puerto Rico, and if any of you are surfers, you know what a learning curve there is in the beginning, let a lone the paddle, paddle, paddle past the impact zone.
It doesn’t matter if you’re learning to surf or experimenting with new business strategies, the secret is getting through the impact zone “a series of crashing waves or obstacles” that meet you along the way, and overcoming them, challenge by challenge.
As a newbie surfer, and seasoned entrepreneur, I couldn’t help but notice:
5 Ways Surfing “the Waves” is Like Business
- You have to do it, to know it. You’ll never know what it’s like to start a business unless you’ve been there. You can read 100 books, take a class or brave it solo, but there’s no manual telling you what to do.Similarly, there’s no one way to surf the waves, just different techniques. Business and surfing can be scary, exciting and exhausting all at the same time, but attitude and perseverance will save you from drowning.
- Be prepared to paddle, even if you’re exhausted. It takes time to paddle past head-high waves, but the sooner you’re able to break through, the faster you’ll get to a resting spot. In business, you’ll paddle through and pick up speed depending on the urgency at hand.Since the ocean and business often show no mercy, learn to push when you need to and guard your valuable energy.
- Be ready on a dime. When you see a perfect wave, you have to be ready: in position, in the right direction, watching other surfers and yielding to those in the line up.When it’s your turn, you paddle like there’s no tomorrow, and hopefully, lift off. It can be a thrilling ride, even though it may be a short one.
In business, being prepared for action is critical for success. Confidence comes from preparation and knowing what to do — even if you hit a wave.
- Maintain your cool. It can be frustrating to learn how to surf, let alone face multiple challenges in the water. Waves are relentless. You’re never learning fast enough. You fail often.Although surfing and business can be tense, you have to learn how to breathe through the tough times, then relax. An uptight body in the water sinks faster. An uptight body in life gets stressed out and gets sick. Keeping cool under pressure is a learned art, and can save your life (and business).
- Respect the powers that be. My surf instructor told me the ocean is a mighty force and my surf board is not my friend — and I had to learn to deal with both. Being swept to shore with a board and leash tied to your ankle can be humbling. In business, it’s humbling to make mistakes and take a hit.If you’re lucky, mistakes will become learning opportunities to move you to the next level. Respect knowledge, ability and experience, but don’t forget to respect your own power. You hold the key.