The waves are pounding over us as we swim like crazy. It feels like we’re making absolutely no progress, but our arms are flailing as hard and fast as we can get them to go. I’ve got water up my nose, dripping from every part of my body, and leaking onto my lips. It’s salty and I’m scared. But you can’t stop or it’s all over. I focus on her surfboard, ten feet in front of mine, and keep paddling like a maniac.
When we get beyond the breakers but the waves are still pushing at us, she yells, “Is this what being in business is like?” And I yell, “Yup!” And we both keep paddling.
In surfing, your first job is to get beyond the breakers. You stop paddling, the waves consume you. You pause to look at the size of a wave, and the loss of momentum rips you off the board. You get tilted sideways, your board flips and you have to begin the whole process again.
When you’re in business, your job each day is to get beyond the breakers.
To get past the waves of doubt and overwhelm and fear that seem endless. The waves of “What do I do now?” and “I suck” and “There’s so much to do” and “i can’t possibly do THAT” and “No way” and “That’s too scary.”
Those waves feel endless. They aren’t. They mean you’re not beyond the breakers yet.
Beyond the breakers, the sea is calm. The sea kelp waves gently to you: hello, hello.
Beyond the breakers, you can actually sit up. You can take in the horizon line. You can get your bearings. You can see what else is in the water.
And only then, when you’ve taken a moment to soak in the view, do you ride the wave to shore and start the whole process again.
So if you’re tired, if you’re overwhelmed, if it feels like you haven’t gotten a moment’s rest from the furious tirades of your brain — trust. Trust that the breakers end. Trust that there’s calm and perspective after the waves.