No Lifeguard on Duty.

July 28, 2021

No Lifeguard on Duty.

May 29, 2023

It’s no coincidence that MEA’s first campus is on the beach and that I’ve written my last three books in homes on the beach. I love water, especially when there aren’t a lot of people around. I also love surfing, even though I haven’t been out for the longest time, along with the fact that I’m not very good.

Surfing is calming, humbling, and challenging. I think it appeals to the entrepreneur in me. In fact, I think surfing and entrepreneurship have a lot in common (these are the things I think about when I’m not catching waves). Consider the evidence:

  • Storms (or difficult times) often provide the best conditions (the more disruptive waves, the better the ride, and the entrepreneurial opportunity)

  • Unlike tennis, skiing, or basketball, surfing is free form and not regimented. You don’t reserve court time, buy a ticket, or recruit a bunch of players. You just do it. Same goes for the entrepreneur. Make your own rules.

  • An expert surfer can see a wave on the horizon and know it’s going to be an awesome swell vs. something that will peter out before it takes shape. The same principle applies to entrepreneurs who understand what’s going on underneath the surface (actually creating the waves) so they can distinguish between a long-term trend and a short-term fad.

  • The best surfing beaches are often remote, and the best entrepreneurial ideas are often ridiculous. Making things more interesting, there is usually no lifeguard in sight! Whether you’re a novice or an expert, surfer or entrepreneur, you are your own safety net. Of course, you also know a common fellowship with unwritten rules supports you. Surfers and entrepreneurs speak the same language based on shared experiences. Friendships strike up quickly.

  • Finally, both surfing and entrepreneurship asks us to be bold, creative, self-reliant, aware, and patient. And, of course, to always look for the path (or wave) less traveled—good lessons for us all to explore.

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