Buy the Surfboard

About ten minutes ago, I got a professional email, the kind I usually ignore… this one about a financial services conference that had a panel discussion.

One CEO on the panel was talking about using social media as a marketing tool. He compared the rise of social media to a tsunami, and he urged his audience to go ahead and “buy the surfboard.”

That phrase leapt out at me. For one thing, my company has started talking about social media, and I’ve been dragging my feet. Don’t want to think about it, don’t want to get involved. Even though I know it’s the next frontier of my profession, and I need to explore it.

For another thing, I’ve been thinking about learning to surf. No, really. It’s something I wanted to do in my 20s, but for various reasons… didn’t. But it struck me recently that I still could do it. I live in Florida, don’t I? What’s stopping me?

Buy the surfboard.

That is some bloody great advice.

For all of us, there’s some issue where we’re standing at the edge of the pool, tentatively dipping our toe in. Hanging back, hesitating. Making some kind of excuse for inaction: I’m too old, I’ll look foolish, I could never do that, whatever. That’s your ego, trying to be helpful as usual. Protecting you, and in the process half strangling you and blocking your joy.

Meanwhile, there’s your intuition, telling you to get out there and take a few risks. Try something different. Do the thing you’re afraid to do, but can’t stop thinking about either….

Give that attractive stranger a friendly greeting. Sign up for those piano lessons. Call your estranged uncle and apologize. Send your poem to that magazine. Take your friend up on the offer to go rock climbing. End that draining relationship. Go skydiving.

Waiting for a better moment? It won’t come.

Buy the surfboard.

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