In The Trenches

Let’s surf!

Published on August 18, 2020 Back to blog

Last week, I tried something new. My two kids and I decided to take a surfing lesson, and see if we could ride the waves. After putting on our wetsuits, we followed our instructors to the water’s edge, where they explained the basics of the equipment and demonstrated a few techniques for “popping up.” We then practiced a few times on land, and were ready for the real thing. 

As each “massive” 2-3 foot wave came roaring toward us, with the white water about to show, the instructor gave us each a push and screamed “pop up.” From there, it was up to each of us to ride the wave. 

Perhaps needless to say, my kids did much better than me. Josh, my 12-yr old son was successful about 80% of the time. Julia, my 16-year old daughter got up about 50%. For me, it was closer to 20%. 

But to make up for my other 80%, I thought I’d share the parallels and lessons from this adventure as it relates to tackling challenges (like the waves in the ocean).

  1. Be prepared. The first step to overcoming any challenge is to be prepared. Beyond the basic training, make sure you also have the proper tools and equipment. The water can get frigid. Wear a wet suit. 
  2. Let the little stuff go. Instinct often causes us to take on every challenge. But, just like waiting for the right wave to take on, let the little ones go by and save your energy for the ones that will really move you forward. 
  3. Get your balance first. Once you see a challenge to take on, be careful about jumping on it too soon. Take a breathe and plant your feet solidly on the ground before going full steam ahead. 
  4. Enjoy the ride. Every challenge is different. But each one is an adventure that moves you forward. No matter how long it lasts, be sure to enjoy it. 
  5. Get up and try again. Whether you get thrown off right at the start, or you take it all the way through, every wave eventually crashes. But others will be right behind you. Find the right one, get your balance and enjoy the ride again. 

I’m looking forward to my next surfing adventure – both on the water and off. And, as I write this, my son is taking another surfing lesson (photo with friends above) – a sure sign that he wants to keep taking on bigger waves. I look forward to seeing him ride them. 

Jeff Freedman
CEO/Managing Partner
Small Army | Finn Partners