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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Success Lessons from a Surfer Dude

A while back, while on a tropical beach vacation, I struck up an unlikely friendship with a surfer named Duke. His real name was Huntington (his surfer dad named him after the beach in California) but since he was the best surfer in the area everybody called him “Duke” as a nod to surfing legend Duke Kahanmoku.

Maybe it was scent of tropical flowers on the breeze or perhaps it was the power of the 1 Barrel rum, but one evening, sitting around with Duke and his surfer buddies – his “Brahs” and “Alihams” – it struck me that Duke’s success in his way of life can be translated into success off the beach, even in the business world.

First of all, Duke was passionate about surfing. And, we all know that passion is key to success in any endeavor.

And, although at first blush, Duke embodies that laid back “surfer dude” stereotype, Duke was also very disciplined. Before sunrise, when everybody else was in bed, Duke was out on the beach checking the surf conditions; demonstrating the success principle of starting early and of understanding the environment in which you operate and the circumstances you expect to face.

And, if the “surf’s on”, Duke’ll be out in it rain or shine. Determination, persistence and commitment are key characteristics for success in any field.
OK, that stuff is pretty obvious. But with more listening and thinking about watching the surfers enjoy the waves (plus additional 1Barrel), I realized that there were a number of great lessons I'd be heading home with:
First, the surfers go to where the waves are. They don’t waste any energy trying to create waves. A great lesson in target marketing and prospecting from Duke.
Next, the surfers don’t fight the white water, they use a rip to pull them out. Hmmmmmm.
Thirdly, after getting themselves in the right place, they wait. They wait for a good wave, the RIGHT wave. And, when the right wave comes along, they don’t waste a second, they catch it and get to their feet as fast as they can, seizing the opportunity.

Then, they ride the wave. They don’t fight it, they ride it. And they ride it as far as they can.
Finally, they do it again. And again. As long as the conditions are right and they have the strength, they will keep going, taking advantage of every opportunity.
I never got used to being called “Bro, “Brah”, “Broseph”, “Broskie” or “Brodie”, but I sure learned a number of success lessons that are still part of my approach to business and life.
Duke, it’s been years, but I’m willing to bet that you’re carving while I’m keyboarding. Mahalo, Mateo.

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