In the early days of Hook Media, I heard an analogy from Aubrey Marcus, the founder of Onnit, that really resonated with me and the journey I was going through in the first few months of the life in the business.
He said to look at your business and the opportunities that are presented to you, like you are a surfer.
Surfers don’t take the first wave (or opportunity) that comes along; they paddle for a while, waiting, letting a few waves go by, then maybe ride one wave that isn’t great, then wait, and paddle again, then ride one that is fantastic. He talked about not being afraid to let some waves go by, or not being too discouraged or too carried away, but resetting, after you’ve been dumped, or ridden the perfect wave to the shore.
The analogy helped me to accept that opportunities come and go, sometimes you just have to go for it, and it will be awesome. But if it’s not, another wave will come, and you get back out there.
I heard another surfing analogy today, from Danny Iny of Firepole Marketing, which was similar but different and valuable.
He too likened the life of an entrepreneur to the process of surfing. Explaining that you are constantly floating. It’s unstable. Success is all based on the confidence in your own ability to attack a wave, and ride it. You’ll make mistakes (ie; getting dumped), but you need the courage to paddle back out there, and try again tomorrow.
The interesting thing about Danny’s story about surfing, is that he was comparing the unpredictable life of someone chasing their dreams, working for themselves, to the predictable, more stable activity of riding a train (his metaphor for a traditional career, working for an employer) to the end of the tracks.
As opposed to surfing, riding a train on the other hand, is essentially a consistent and predictable path, once you’re on the train. You might have to rush to catch it, be delayed along the way, or uncomfortable at stages, but it’s on the tracks and you’ll end up where you thought you would, and where countless others have.
After riding the train (both metaphorically and literally) for many years in my working life, I’m now embracing the ebbs and flows that come with surfing, running my own business. I don’t ride every wave to the shore, but after a year of Hook Media, I’m more comfortable with the unpredictable. I know the great waves will come, and that wipe-outs pass.