“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”~Jon Kabat-Zinn
Recently it seems as if many of my clients are surfing. Not the kind of surfing that first comes to mind – warm weather, big waves, Hawaiian shirts – but surfing nonetheless.
They are facing huge difficulties and issues at work, relentless challenges, one after the other. Like waves crashing upon them. And it seems like they have only a few choices of how to respond. They can fight what’s beating at them, they can give up and go under water, or they can learn to surf.
Life throws things at us. Bosses who think they have to be bossy to be the boss. Colleagues that are not very collegial. Friends and family that need more than we have to give. We can face physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual challenges, all at the same time. And we can either get wiped out by the waves crashing upon us, or we can learn to surf.
For one client, surfing meant that she couldn’t do everything on her to-do list to her usual standards. She took an hour to comb through the list – delegating what she could, dumping what wasn’t absolutely necessary, and doing what she had to, even if she didn’t do her ultimate best. For another client, surfing meant recognizing how upset he was at a situation at work, and choosing not to negatively voice his disagreement, as he had done in the past. Instead, he surfed – he felt his anger, noticed what set him off and why, and decided to simply let it go. A great step for him.
Surfing can mean a myriad of responses. What it always means is riding the wave. Getting up on your board, softening your knees so you don’t stand too rigid, and letting the waves take you along for the ride. You certainly will have more success than if you fight it. You might even enjoy it.
How do you surf?
Please leave a comment.
If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.
If you want to learn to (metaphorically) surf, contact Robyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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