I’ve been reading an awesome book this week, called Saltwater Buddha by Jaimal Yogis. It’s kinda like a coming of age tale but written by a surfer about his journey to find zen. Highly recommend it.
He talks a lot about learning to surf, and as a surfer, and someone who has spent years teaching people to surf, I resonated with so much of what he was saying.
He uses learning to surf as an analogy for Zen Buddhist teachings (which works really well by the way!), and it really got me thinking about business.
I’ve written about the whole surf/business thing before because there really are a tonne of similarities, but I wanted to focus on one in particular today.
Here’s the thing. The surfing that most people see in magazines/movies/online is not a very real representation of what we actually do. Don’t get me wrong, the bliss we feel when riding a wave cannot be beaten. But in reality, we only spend about 20% of our time in the water (if we’re lucky) actually riding waves. The remaining 80% is spent paddling.
You don’t see too much paddling in the magazines, do you? But that’s what we spend most of our time doing.
Paddling is tough. It requires a certain type of fitness. Add to that duck diving under waves and negotiating currents & rips. We can’t even access the waves without paddling out. We work hard to get our waves. Yet all anyone really sees is the wave riding.
I’ve been thinking about how similar this is to business. Our customers/clients see the product or service we sell. But in reality, there’s a whole load more work going on behind the scenes.
As an entrepreneur, you need to be clear about the different elements of what you do, and what, in your business represents paddling.
What’s the stuff that you have to do to actually catch the waves?
For example, my strategy work is my surfing, but the paddling? It’s all the writing, the branding, the marketing, the geeky tech stuff, the systems I have in place, the hustle.
Fact: If you wanna become a really good surfer, you’re going to need to get good at paddling. And if you want to create a business that you ADORE? Find ways to enjoy the ‘paddle’. Lean into what makes it fun. Train hard, educate yourself so it becomes easier. Seek out your tribe. Identify your best path.
Understand that the only way to catch heaps of waves is to paddle out in the first place.
The difference between awesome business ideas & profitable businesses? An entrepreneur who is willing to jump in the ocean and just start paddling.
There will be days when the paddle is tough when the waves seem relentless when you find yourself wondering ‘am I ever going to get out the back?’. But know this, even on those days, when your self-esteem is taking a beating, the fact that you are out there, paddling, means you are getting stronger. Whether it feels like it or not, you’re growing.
It’s easy to sit on the beach and dream of all the perfect waves you want to catch. But you’re never going to feel that bliss until you actually start doing it.
I promise, the sooner you get in the water, the sooner you’ll actually get to experience the reality of riding a wave. And it’s about a zillion times better than anything you can imagine.
Same thing goes with the business. You can plan, dream, think, talk, brainstorm all you want, but at some point, if you actually want to make it happen, you’re going to have to start doing.