Sometimes I feel being an entrepreneur is like being a surfer. Almost every entrepreneur is looking for that perfect wave, and we spend much of our time preparing ourselves for that wave. We do everything in our power to be ready so that when the wave comes, we are ready to ride it. However, no matter how much we prepare, the ride is never as expected, and always offers mystery and intrigue.
There are many parallels between really great surfers and really great entrepreneurs. For one, they both have the ability to catch those waves that others miss. I have heard it said that most of the great surfers spend their time looking for waves that others would simply dare not try. This is the same as a successful entrepreneur. They will see opportunities where others are either afraid to chart or simply are blind to the opportunity.
I think it is that feeling of riding those large waves that makes surfers feel most alive. Most entrepreneurs say they feel the most exhilarated when they are riding the wave of business.
Some people say that entrepreneurs are thrill-seekers or risk warriors. As an entrepreneurial coach who has worked with many entrepreneurs I have to disagree; I don’t think it is the risk or the thrill that drives an entrepreneur. It is passion.
I think the same is true for good surfers. I think they are not risk warriors. They, like good entrepreneurs, are risk calculators. Surfers and entrepreneurs are passionate, self-driven and have a general zest for life. It is that underlying quality that drives them to attain the unattainable.
What does it mean to be a calculated risk taker? I believe that if we studied the world’s best surfers and entrepreneurs we would see that they plan, strategize and implement. They do this from being structured, focused and disciplined. From this, they attune to the force of nature, and ride!
For instance, with surfers, they know what equipment they need. They know where the surf is, they know what time the tide is high and they study the environment to make sure that the conditions are right for that perfect ride. Then they go out and give it everything they have, meeting the elements that come their way with courage, commitment and surrender.
The same rules apply to owning and operating a business. We pick an area that we wish to work, we get all the equipment in place, we study the environment and then we begin to metaphorically paddle towards the surf. At a certain point our combined passion, calculations, structure focus and discipline and other factors prepare us for the ride of our lives. At that point the only way to deal with the oncoming wave is by being balanced and planted yet agile, in other words, courageous, committed and surrendered.
Looking at entrepreneurship from the vantage point of surfing can bring passion into your heart and soul helping the entrepreneur to remember why you started the business in the first place.
If you would like to practice feeling alive in your business, I have an exercise for you. There are no wrong or right answers; just note where you feel the most alive. Write a list of five activities in your business that make you feel like a surfer. Focus on why you do those activities and what your desired result is from those activities. Notice what makes you feel the most alive and see what wave this list prepares you for. By focusing on feeling alive, you will be amazed at how it will impact your business and your attitude towards preparation for the big surf.
Since 1994, Rishi Gerald, founder and CEO of RishiVision and entrepreneurial coach, has empowered thousands of businesses. Rishi has an MBA in marketing and entrepreneurial studies and a BBA in accounting. He has spent nearly twenty years coaching, consulting, managing and supporting thousands of businesses from new startups to active global leaders.