The other morning I happened the catch a documentary about surfing called Step Into Liquid. The title alone was so intriguing that I spent the next 90 minutes watching a film about a sport that I, as a landlocked midwesterner, will most likely never try. It followed the sport all over the world. One of the most surprising thing I discovered were all the places people surf. Not just the expected Australian coast, or Maui, or the stereotypical California, but the unexpected places like 50 miles north of Milwaukee on Lake Michigan (we get fetch winds that travel straight down the entire length of the lake. When they finally hit the southern end, the waves are pretty amazing). Or off the coast of Ireland. Or most intriguing, in the wake of the supertankers that travel from Galveston to Houston with their bellies loaded with oil. Those guys are called Tank Surfers and since they’re Texans, with a Yee Haw as their battle cry, they are a breed unto their own.
Along with seeing some pretty spectacular scenery from all these exotic and, er, industrial places, there was scene after scene of men and women having fun. The overriding sense I got from every surfer interviewed was how much fun they had doing it. You could see it in their faces. It was pure joy. That joy brought them back time after time to the beach, knowing the minute they hopped on their boards and started paddling out, it would be ecstasy with a spray on their face.
One of the guys commented that surfing was a very selfish sport, in spite of the camaraderie. Even though you most likely surfed in a group and hung out with the guys, when one of them caught a perfect wave, you wanted it for yourself. You weren’t surfing against them, you were surfing for yourself and bettering what you did before. Much the same in my business.
I thought about how fortunate these folks were to have found something in their lives that brought them so much happiness. They made it look so easy, so effortless. But these people were at the top of their game. They’d been practicing for years, chasing waves all around the world, getting knocked about by one of the strongest forces of nature. It made me think about my efforts to get some traction for my business. Our journeys weren’t too dissimilar. I’ve been practicing for years, I’m chasing leads all over the world, I’m getting knocked about by one of the strongest forces of human nature – the word no. I realized I need to find some of their joy in what I was doing. Even though I described the process as a slog, I need to reframe that as riding another wave that will lead to the next one. And there will always be another wave, somewhere. I need to step into my own kind of liquid and just have fun with it. Find the Stoke as the dudes say.