The Push You Need – Riding Life’s Waves With the RIGHT coach

by | Aug 19, 2019 | Coaching

A good surf instructor doesn’t just take you out into the water, give your board a push and shout, “stand up!” They teach you how to read waves, position yourself properly on your board, how and when to paddle, how to fall, and make you practice “popping-up” before you even leave the beach. They share their experience with you, and help you develop the basic skills and confidence you need before you head into the line-up. This metaphor works beautifully when working with a life coach. I’ve taken surf lessons from a few different teachers with varying levels of success.

My first surfing class was with a very intense man who gave me just enough information to freak me out. Once I was in the white water, I felt so nervous that I became physically ill. He screamed at me to paddle and to “stand up!”, and after falling off the board the second time without successfully standing up, he told me that he was ‘disappointed’ because he assumed that I would be able to surf the “ @#$! ” out of the waves because I am a yoga teacher. I felt defeated, seasick, and embarrassed. I couldn’t wait to get out of the water.

My second lesson was from a very laid-back man in Honolulu. There were no instructions. He took me out, casually told me to start paddling, pushed my board and sweetly said, “stand up dear”. I could stand up (not for long), but I didn’t do any of the work on my own. When i tried surfing on my own, I didn’t know which waves to paddle for, and as a result, I chose all of the wrong waves. I took a lot of big drinks from the Pacific Ocean.

A couple of years later, I decided to try my luck once again. This time I did my research. I looked for good surf instructors. I read a couple of books and watched some lessons on YouTube. Let’s just say that third time was the charm. This third instructor took time to teach me. He worked with me one-on-one. He addressed my fears, and helped me feel comfortable with the things that I had learned (through hard experience). He taught me the skills I needed, and when it was time to go out into the water, he paddled out by my side. We read the waves together, and he helped me identify “my wave”. I paddled as hard as I could, and when I stood up and caught that first wave, he cheered for me as I rode the wave all the way into the white water.

The difference is obvious… The third instructor was a coach. He met me where I was at. He showed me the ropes, identified my strengths, and encouraged me as I embarked nervously on my journey into the waves. With his shared knowledge, I was able to select the right wave (or challenge), and he cheered for me when I succeeded (goals)! After my successful experience, he checked back in with me to ask what went well (positive inquiry), and allowed me the opportunity to savor the positive emotions associated with the experience. At this point, he focused on what all of the things I was doing right, and gave me ideas about how to catch my next wave.

Surfing is like life. Sometimes the water is calm and warm, and other times conditions are far from ideal. We don’t always get to choose which waves we are faced with, but we can learn the skills we need to weather the storms and surf the waves. We can work toward a growth mindset… using the strengths of wisdom, courage and even curiosity as we try AND learn new things. When we fall off our boards, we can climb back on with the knowledge that by doing so we are becoming more buoyant and resilient. The more we try, the better we become. Life’s waves aren’t a “one and done” experience. Choose your coach wisely… it will be one of your most important investments of your life!

Learning the basics of surfing has helped inform my approach as a life, career and fitness coach. I LOVE helping people take the steps they need to reach their goals! I understand the value of meeting you where you are at. Together, we can figure out what it will take to achieve your goal, work on anything standing in your way, and map out a path to help you achieve your goals and make positive changes in your life.

I won’t hesitate to jump in and paddle beside you as you face your exciting new challenges, and you can be sure that I will be cheering for you as catch your wave, and ride it successfully!

Let’s catch your next wave together!