The Corporate ‘Surfer’ – Riding The Tough Waves Of Life!

It was one of those family vacations at the island resort. I was just 15 years old back then and like any 15 year old, extremely adventurous. And this time
07 May 2016 10:03
The Corporate ‘Surfer’ – Riding The Tough Waves Of Life!

It was one of those family vacations at the island resort. I was just 15 years old back then and like any 15 year old, extremely adventurous.

And this time my keenness was for surfing. I enrolled with one of the surfing instructors at the beach for taking my lessons.

Well! As I look back, the entire experience has and will always turn out as an excellent learning for leading a successful professional, personal and a social life!


The Attitude: “best way to fight fear is to face it”

The first thing I was taught was to not get afraid of the waves. When I heard this, I told the instructor that confidence runs in my blood and to which he laughed like I had never heard before!

And that’s because when I actually was taken into the ocean, I realised somehow my confidence hadn’t joined me, it had left me behind at the beach as I walked towards the waves!!!

The enormous size of the waves that were lashing the shore got me a bit scared. These waves were more than 15 feet at the least, more than double my total height.

I began to feel my fear was increasing as I kept looking at those waves. All sorts of negative thoughts started to infect my so-called confident mind.

I became very nervous and I think my instructor saw it. As we were wading towards the deep ocean, he came close to me and whispered in a stern voice, it is surely good to be confident but not overconfident.

My instructor told me something else too and that which I remind myself in now as I work in the corporate as well as my personal world.

He said: “Whenever you are afraid of anything, just tell yourself, the best way to fight fear is to face it. Running away does not ever help.”

In times of tough challenges and crisis, I always remind myself of these words and it really makes me more courageous to face tough situations and also gives me the strength to deal with them sensibly!


The Fall, the Balance and the Rise

I was a good student and I slowly but steadily learnt the technique to surf correctly.

But more often I just was unable to maintain my balance and hence kept falling.

I was just not able to ride the entire wave like the others did. That is when I got my second lesson in how to live my life!

My instructor was quite far away but it did not stop him from waving to me and getting my attention.

As I looked at him, he yelled, just focus and concentrate on your balance and don’t think of winning the wave, think of riding the wave and that will happen only if you can balance accurately.

I realized that I was getting multi-focused. I was thinking about too many things at the same time and that was causing me to lose my balance…both mental and also physical balance!!!.

But in that moment, while I was about to take my next ride through the wave, I also learnt something new.

This was that it is ok to fail as long as I am able to learn from the mistakes and make improvements and ‘rise’ higher!


Be creative, don’t be monotonous!

As I started getting better and by that I mean I started falling less from the board, I started to become more consistent in making full rides upon the waves without many failures.

It was really an amazing feeling!  It felt as though I had conquered something.

But during the group interaction that afternoon, I was told that my rides were repetitive!

They were happening in the same manner.

The instructor said to me: “Why don’t you try new moves on the wave, now that you are getting good at the whole thing. You seem to just follow only one type of manoeuvre.

“Remember, everyone and particularly me, whether on the wave or in your life, don’t be monotonous, be creative, try doing the same thing in a different way so that you will get better results as well as you will generate a unique sense of joy and accomplishment within you.”

Even till today, I have been implementing upon his advice and it truly works. Whether one is a sales person, marketing person or someone who may even be a teacher at school, being creative can surely yield better results!


Lessons learnt

Well friends! There is a lot more that we can learn from this adventure sport called Surfing and I am sure that all you wonderful and sincere readers of my column will surely make the best of the important learnings shared with you.

But I also believe that you will derive more learning on your own too!

I have to go now as a new and more enormous wave awaits me to surf!!!
Mayur Kalbag is a Leadership Coach, Corporate Trainer & Author. He mainly focuses upon Training and Human Resource Development through ‘Specifically Designed Seminars and Conferences. He can be contacted via email:


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