Achieving Goals | adversity | Men's Coaching | surfing
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Surfing Monster Waves: Embrace the fear, pain and the present moment.

Despite living in Colorado, the cocktail of fear, danger and excitement that is surfing has always pulled at me. There is something captivating about swirling, violent waves erupting into chaos with the potential to crush you or take you on the best 20 seconds of your life. The fear and excitement gets me fired up.

I went surfing in San Diego on Saturday. While I wouldn’t consider myself “good” at surfing, I can handle myself and was determined to finally catch some big waves.

For the first hour, I caught a few small waves in the whitewater before moving further out. Feeling ready and determined to catch a big wave, I paddled out to the deep. Immediately, I heard the unmistakable sound of a large, thunderous wall of water moving toward me. With equal parts excitement and fear, I paddled forward. This was it, catch the big wave or get pounded violently underneath it.

The timing was perfect and I rode for 20 blissful seconds atop the wave, towering over everyone else in the ocean with my heart beating out of my chest. Fully alive and fully present – an amazing feeling.

Looking to recreate the experience that I had just had, I immediately paddled back out. The next few attempts, I was viciously thrown from my board. After 45 minutes, paddling hard back out into the deep was beginning to be exhausting. I then noticed my wedding ring was missing – the slipperiness of the water and the hard wipeouts had made it come off and fall into the bottom of the ocean.

I sat on my board as it floated on top of the water and thought about the last two hours. Catching a few small waves, 1 huge wave, some hard wipeouts, a lost wedding ring and A TON of paddling. I realized surfing is the ultimate metaphor for life.

Catching waves: the best things in life – Hilarious jokes with friends, amazing sex, great dinners, closing big deals – are about 1% of life. The things in life that we chase. The rest of life, the 99%, is the paddling – answering work emails, doing the dishes, going to the grocery store.

Sometimes you catch a huge wave and feel unbeatable, the next minute you could be frantically searching for something cherished that you will never recover. But you paddle on.

The only way to live is to embrace the pain, the fear, the mundane – whatever is now.

Let the bad waves pass, ride the big ones and embrace the paddle.