Business is like Surfing
Don’t Float. Paddle Hard. Catch the Wave. Enjoy the Ride.
A long time ago I lived on the ocean and while describing the cycles of business to somebody last week it dawned on me it’s a lot like surfing –
The first thing you have to do is jump in and start struggling against crashing breakers and strong currents. You’re swimming against the tide, diving under the breakers, getting knocked around endlessly, holding your breath too often, and not seeming to make much progress. And you’re dog tired as a reward. Starting a business or any new initiative in an existing business gets you pretty much the same response, doesn’t it?
Once you get past the breakers you are still paddling like crazy against the tide and up the swells and rollers. Most of the time you can’t see much farther than the next wave coming at you and even though you’re paddling endlessly, there are almost no reference points for whether you’re making any progress. Business is the same – once you’re past the initial struggle, the long slog to success doesn’t seem to have any context – is this getting me anywhere? Oh, and you’re tired.
Once you’re finally out where the big ones are forming, you turn around, point yourself at the beach, and after all the paddling against the waves, now you have to paddle even harder WITH THE WAVES in order to catch one going in.
This is where most businesses miss the wave. We paddle so hard against the momentum that when we finally catch some good times and the current is with us, we relax, turn over on our backs and catch some rays. It’s an instinctive reaction and after all we deserve to goof off – we’ve worked really hard to get there. But you’ll never catch the wave that way.
The reason most business owners don’t ever get off the treadmill isn’t because they don’t have the opportunity, it’s because every time they catch some momentum they start floating. When we get momentum, we should be paddling harder then we’ve ever paddled before. When we do, we can catch the wave and at that point you don’t have to paddle anymore, just ride the wave, pose for the cameras and enjoy the ride.
If you’ve got some momentum, don’t float, paddle harder. There is nothing more rewarding or exciting than finally catching the wave. Do you want a business that has enough momentum to regularly make money while you’re on vacation? Wouldn’t it be great to have a business that prints both time and money for you?
The don’t call it “catching” the wave for nothing. It doesn’t just happen. You get out in front of it and paddle like crazy. We create our momentum, THEN we enjoy it when the business gets a life of its own.
Don’t float. Paddle Hard. Catch the wave. Enjoy the ride.