Usually “Gone Surfing” means we’ve checked out of the office for some R&R and are not engaged in business-building activities.
But I believe our “down time” activities are just as important for our businesses as when we’re working in the business! Before you disagree outright, have a read-thru…
I recently took surfing lessons, it’s something I’ve always wanted to learn.
A few things quickly became clear:
* A good coach for 1-1 sessions is essential to any endeavor: I highly recommend Keoni of Paikea Mexico!
* Land practice is helpful, but there’s nothing like in the water experience! Getting your feet wet in the actual ocean is the only way to really learn.
* Everything is always moving! On land the Earth is solid beneath your feet. In the ocean, everything is in motion: the wave height, direction and how it breaks, incoming wave sets, shifting sandbars, ever-changing tides in and out, undersea currents, position of the sun, other surfers and wildlife such as dive-bombing pelicans (very cool, can be startling!).
* Snap to standing right away! Your brain can only comprehend intellectually; your body knows balance far faster and better than your brain can ever think it’s way thru. So paddle fiercely into the flow, then jump to standing position in one motion and get your balance there (vs inching your way up).
* Some things you just have to learn by how not do to do them, like how to avoid getting pummeled by a wave… by getting pummeled by one and surviving.
* Some things you can learn by watching other surfers, like the right timing for pointing up and over or diving into a wave just as it crests so you don’t get pummeled.
* Always keep your mouth closed, else be prepared to swallow a whole lot of salt water. Up into your skull too; although if you have a head cold this is a really good way to clean out your sinuses!
* Always protect your head, so you don’t get brained by your own surfboard. Fortunately it was a soft version and I managed to avoid the fins; sometimes a hard head helps 😉
* Use unmoving landmarks to keep track of where you are now. On the open water it’s fairly easy to drift off course without realizing it if you’re not regularly checking in with your trajectory. When you first get out there, triangulate a few clear, fixed markers on land so you always know your current position, and how to get back if you drift off track.
* Do surfers eat less salt on their food? Just wondering. I’ve only surfed a few days so far, and still liberally salt my meals, but am quite sure to be ingesting a lot of salt water. There must be studies on this. Maybe it takes time to build up in one’s body? Or is it an entirely different mechanism?
* Have no fear. Especially of sharks! Shark consciousness is based on curiosity and exploring their world Also, their entire way of life is being threatened. Check out the amazing video below to relieve your concerns!
* Wear sunscreen, even when it’s not outright sunny. But double check the expiration date!!
* Watch out for sharp pointed things that you might step on, from dead pufferfish scales to beach flower thorns or even human trash. This means keeping an eye on your next step as well as your overall path.
* Relax and use your whole back to paddle; not just your shoulders. You’ll go further faster, and with less fatigue.
* Stay centered on your surfboard. Learn in your body and by visual cues what it feels like to be centered for your body, on that surfboard. And always default to this position. It will empower you to paddle stronger, swivel to catch a wave faster, and snap to standing easier.
* It’s truly a whole-body endeavor including ribs rubbed raw from the board with all that paddling (maybe I should’ve worn that rash guard?), back and shoulders stiff from paddling and possibly sunburn; legs sore from snapping to standing; brain sore from trying to think my way thru it all (don’t bother; just let your body figure it out!) – full engagement is necessary for success; fully embrace it all as a part of the adventure!
* Bring your dogs! They’ll love to frolic in the surf too, and with proper shade and hydration will be all too happy to watch over your stuff on the beach (and keep an eye on you in the water too!)
* Keep your machete sharp, for quenching that post-surf thirst with a fresh young coconut. And swing it like you mean it, especially if the machete is not sharp.
How are all these surfing tips good for business?
Anything that challenges us to learn new things, is a good thing to keep our brains and bodies youthful – and growing!
Yes, your brain has neuroplasticity: we continue to make new neurons throughout life, and lifelong learning is one way to successfully make new neuronal connections, which along with forming new blood vessels, is the cellular basis for learning and memory (1).
Increasing our self-awareness is a key – and often underrated – component of business development.
All of my biggest business breakthroughs have come from doing the inner work first: realizing and reframing my own beliefs, standards, boundaries and behaviors in alignment with an expanded consciousness and consequentially greater self-expression and courage to be and do that which in the past I shied away from or even outright resisted.
So my friends, that is how surfing can grow your big fat juicy brain stronger, keep your body fit, and greatly expand your business too!
Have you ever been surfing?
If so, what tips would you add to this list?
If not, when?!
Or what other activities have you done that provided great growth and development for you too?
Are you planning an executive leadership offsite, conference, strategic visioning session or team-building event?
I’d love to be of service to you and your group in fulfilling on all your intended outcomes with clarity, collaboration – and fun! – using large-scale visual communications via Graphic Recording and Graphic Facilitation
(1). Human Hippocampal Neurogenesis Persists Throughout Aging. Boldrini M, et al; J. Cell Stem Cell. 2018 Apr 5;22(4):589-599.e5