Vacation time is the most important time in your career. If you squander your vacation time it will have a negative impact on your work, your happiness, your family, your friends and your tan lines.
I spent last week on vacation at the beach in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. My family of 5 loaded up our Family Truckster and drove from the western shore of Lake Michigan to the Eastern Shore of the second largest barrier island on the east coast. We drove because we bring 5 bikes and 5 boogie boards, which are hard to stuff in the overhead compartment on a plane.
Boogie On Board
I spent a lot of time boogie boarding. It is one of my favorite ways to spend a vacation day. Boogie boading is like life (#gettingdeep). I have thought a lot about why I enjoy boogie boarding so much, and what it has taught me. Here’s what I came up with.
Top 16 lessons I have learned while boogie boarding.
- Be present. When you are boogie boarding you become totally absorbed in the moment. Like Bounty. Being present makes you feel alive. Feeling alive feels good.
- You have to choose the waves you want to ride. Opportunities come at us over and over. We have to decide which ones are best for us. Others around you will jump on waves that aren’t right for you. Let them.
- You have to kick to get started. To catch a wave you have to start with a little forward momentum. Which means you need to get moving first. Never forget that. My son Johann (11) says ‘If you don’t start kicking you’ll just float.’ #truth
- Sometimes you are too early. We often get excited about an opportunity too early. Oh well. We tried.
- Sometimes you are too late. You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. I’ve missed many a great wave because I didn’t time it right and it got away.
- Sometimes what looks great isn’t. A job, a client, an opportunity can look perfect. But it doesn’t turn out that way. This will happen. A lot. But on the other hand…
- Sometimes what looks bad isn’t. I have caught waves that I thought would be forgettable, and they turned out to be the best rides of the day. My career has been like that too. Some of my favorite clients and opportunities started inconspicuously. Don’t write them off.
- There will always be more waves to catch. Whenever you miss an opportunity, know there will be an endless supply of others. You just have to paddle back out and get ready for them.
- Sometimes a great ride ends with a spectacular crash. This is part of the fun. It’s part of the story and the experience. Take the ride anyway.
- Sometimes you lose your suit. Waves and jobs and life all have a funny way of trying to return us to our natural state of nudity.
- Sometimes you get stung by jellyfish. 3 of the 5 members of my family were stung multiple times by jellyfish on our latest trip. The sting is temporary. The story is forever. And now we include a bottle of vinegar in our beach bin. #nobodygotpeedon
- Sometimes you swim with sharks. When you wade into the ocean you are entering the shark’s world. I have seen sharks several times while boogie boarding. Look for fins. Listen for the Jaws music. If you see or hear these signs, quickly back out of the water while not smelling tasty. The sharks will pass. There are sharks in businesses and social circles too. Keep an eye out for them.
- Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and hold on. Really great waves can get gnarly. In those cases you have to get primal. Hold on to your board. Shut your eyes to keep the saltwater and sand out, and try to outlast the chaos. The rest of life works the same way.
- The scarier the wave the more exciting the ride. That’s all I have to say about that.
- Rip currents are real. There is always a chance you will get sucked out to sea. We review how to swim out of rip currents and rip tides with our kids every time before we boogie. We also talk to our kids about how to avoid drugs and drinking and the wrong crowds. Which are the rip currents of dry land.
- People on the beach wish they were doing what you are doing. But people boogie boarding are never jealous of those lying on the beach. The same holds true of entrepreneurship and exercise and all kinds of adventure. Because Active > Passive.
Take your vacation time. Enjoy as much life as you can. Take chances. Be Present. Learn from everything you do. And come back better than you left.