Our experiences in life and in work could be compared with surfing. Here are some lessons on how we can follow the example of the surfer.
The surfer knows to expect good days and bad. Some waves exhilarate him with the ride of a lifetime, while others leave him disoriented and gasping for air under tons of rushing seawater. The surfer's life is full of chills, spills and occasional thrills. And on most days he goes home with sand in his pants.
The surfer doesn't spend 100% of his time riding great waves. Much of his time is spent swimming to get out past the break line, then sitting astride his board looking seaward to spot and choose his next ride. He anticipates about every seventh wave being a bigger, more interesting challenge. If he chose to ride only little waves, he would get too comfortable and achieve the same old results. Instead, he waits, spots the juicy waves and swims fast to catch them.
When the surfer gets disoriented underwater after being dumped by a big wave, he can't immediately tell up from down. He re-orients himself by relaxing during the uncontrollable period of turbulence. Then as it passes, he exhales slowly to watch which way his air bubbles go, and follows them up to a fresh start.
The surfer will never swim or surf alone, especially when he is in rough water - where the big waves are.
The surfer didn't learn to surf by reading about it. He mastered surfing by practicing regularly and loving the practice, on both good days and bad.
- adapted from "Rebooting...Leadership", by Kimbell, Hadden & Catlette