Friday, August 1, 2014

Wave After Wave Pt 2: Jumping In

Over time, when I've jumped into the waves just past the shore, I have interesting sensations: so happy to be in the ocean, to be free, to be a tiny speck in something so vast.  Then, I experience the cool jolt of the water, thinking 'wow, it looked warmer from the shore - geez it's cold'.  But then it's not so bad, and I get used to it quickly. 

Occasionally stepping off the shallow section into a drop off - having some random fishy nibble at you - wondering is this thing friend or foe? (Compare this to the memories you have of joining a new group, moving to new place, or starting a new job)

An aside: different oceans (like various new jobs or places) have different experiences. Just because the nibbles on the east Atlantic coast never gave me more than the occasional mild jellyfish sting should not convince me that the little jellies off the Mexican baja coast are safe (BTW - they are small portuguese man-o-war and being stung by them is an experience capable of making you believe that the end could be near).  

This is true when you change communities, friends or companies - some times the little things are different - don't assume all people and places are the same. Pay attention, give things a chance, and don't be discouraged if you get stung at the beginning. Learn and move on.

Back to the familiar, which we all gravitate to occastionally. In the ocean, that is experiencing the peaceful feeling of looking out onto the horizon and the soft sand under my feet as I walk out.  All conjuring up memories of happy moments form summers past. Some of us just want to bliss out enjoying the comfort of the familiar. I certainly enjoy those moments occasionally.

But I have learned that sometimes, if I am just coasting, chilling and enjoying what I know and taking very little risks, things change still change anyway.  ...like the feeling of being instantly and unexpectedly decimated by the giant wave that crashes over and practically makes me choke, creating instant fear of losing my swimsuit, swallowing water, wondering if there will be a surfboard near my head when I come up, thinking in my head - oh shit - how many seconds will I have above the water until another one of these dam things practically drowns me? Will I make it? Well, if this is it, it's been a good life.  

The point is, even when we think we are playing it safe, things happen that are beyond our control.  So if "stuff" is going to happen whether taking risks or playing it safe, shouldn't we take risks and at least have a chance at an awesome outcome?

I then jump up gasping for air, sunglasses gone, ponytail holder gone, salty snot coming out of my nose and spitting up the unsolicited dose of seawater I swallowed.  Oh - and let's not forget the sunscreen in the eyes with the combo of salt water that makes it impossible to see briefly, only adding to the adventure. 

When I was in my teens, I would glance back to the shore to see who saw my catastrophic pseudo-drowning scene.  Thinking, 'oh, how embarrassing', I walked in so confident and now I am a shell of a human.  
 
Of course, I learned over time that no one cared, it happens all the time.  Now, I couldn't care less who sees the recurring episode of ocean vs. Kat domination or people who witness some of my trials and challenges - especially while I am learning. This is is an important personal evolution in life and business - learning that we all go through the same struggles and those who judge don't matter, and those who matter don't judge. You'll be more comfortable taking risks and more successful faster if you come to that personal belief. 

Eventually, I stand up (yes...stand...because all of that happens in embarrassingly shallow water).  I realize I made it, and walk, then eventually swim out a little farther before the next wave or sea creature comes. 

This pattern describes so many of the challenges and opportunities we encoutner in life and the thoughts and moments we experience.  One lesson here is that things are rarely as easy as they look or as bad as you think they might be, and taking a risk for something you really want may be tough, but is usually "oh so worth it".

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kat,

    The Jumping In concept is so well said. I heard about many stories that people didn't jump into new challenges since they don't feel fully prepared, which almost become a hurdle in career development.

    I also like your article in LinkedIn about Expertise and Exploration, for me it inspired me to be really focused but also willing to take new risks and step out of the comfort zone.

    Will Cinnabon open stores in China or Korea? I see great potential in the two markets. Dunkin Donut is quite successful in Korea as the dessert culture is just there. In China, people like new things from USA and they are willing to pay that premium (DQ and Starbucks are so expensive there!).

    Looking forward to your new articles.

    Best,
    Lingling

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