At a Futurist conference, in Montreal Canada in 1955, it was predicted that by the year 2000 most Americans would work a 20-hour workweek and not know what to do with their free time.
That hasn’t worked out so well. In fact, many of us work 60 – 80 hours a week. Our jobs have become very demanding and we seldom have time to get our work done because we’re reacting to problems and having to put out the fires.
Because of this many of us work at home just to catch up. This interferes with quality time with our families as well as valuable down time for ourselves. It seems that there is never enough time to get things done.
Over the last 20 years the pace at which we live our lives has escalated. Some of this is caused because we have grown to become part of the large global economy. We do business all over the world. There is more competition for businesses and staying competitive is challenging.
Another reason is because as customers, we have become much more selective. Since there is more competition, we choose to purchase products from companies that not only give us a good price, but also provide excellent customer service. We want our issues and concerns handled immediately. If we can’t get this, we’ll look elsewhere.
Both of these put tremendous pressure on companies to provide quality products at reasonable prices while providing their customers the service they demand. This creates pressure and as employees we feel the pressure every day, and work very hard to try and satisfy these challenges.
Another reason the pace of our lives has escalated is due to technology. Thanks to laptops, cell phones, and iPads we have become accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Many of us receive emails or calls to address a work problem while we are at home after work. Many of us work even work several hours over the weekend to get our work done.
Life is not as simple as the Futurists predicted. Instead it has become more complicated and stressful. Dealing with this stress is hard. What makes it harder and even more challenging is when the unexpected happens and it can throw us for a loop. All of a sudden we’re left in a position where we’re now confused, concerned, and upset. We need to regroup and think of a way to handle this unexpected event.
The only certainty about change is that it will happen. Because of what I’ve mentioned it’s happening at a faster rate than ever before. Nothing remains stable and life is like riding a roller coaster. Some days are better than others. Some days we feel as if we are in control of everything and other days we don’t.
Our basic need is to feel as if we are in control during times of change and uncertainty. When we feel out of control our lives become more complicate, our stress levels rise, and we become fearful.
I am by no means an authority on living a life devoid of stress, chaos, and hardship; I do not consider myself smarter than most people or special in any way. What I have been able to do through my career is to provide skills for employees that enabled them to cope better with their life situations and remain more balanced in times of uncertainty.
I relate changes I face in life to waves in the ocean. Just like ocean waves, change never stops and keeps coming. Just like no two waves are the same, no two changes are the same. When a change happens, I have learned how to manage it better and keep myself more in control. I call this ride the wave of change. I call the process I use to ride the waves of change Life Surfing.
I call this Life Surfing because of the similarities between the skills used for ocean surfing and the skills I used to manage my life changes. Not only is ocean surfing a sport, but for millions, a way of life. I use it as an analogy because ocean surfing incorporates the physical, mental, and emotional toughness that transcends the sport itself.
Like the ocean, change is a cycle of constant motion. The only true certainty is that change, like the waves in the ocean, will continue to roll into our lives. There is much we can learn from ocean surfing to help us maintain our balance as we manage change and uncertainty in our lives.
Ocean surfers blend strong mental concentration with physical dexterity to strive to become “one” with the wave. They combine incredible strength and balance with a laid-back attitude that lets them forget their past wipeouts and look forward to riding their next wave.
The thrill is in the ride as they mold themselves into the wave and generate the flexibility, responsiveness, and courage to accept whatever the wave gives them. In an instant, not only are they able to fling their arms and gyrate their torsos to avert an impending fall, but they also make it look effortless!
This mentality of ocean surfing, when applied to our everyday lives, affords us the opportunity to learn how to face life’s unexpected changes and uncertainties with a sense of balance born from optimism and confidence. This mentality is the true essence of Life Surfing.
Ocean surfers prepare themselves to understand that at any given moment, the ocean can become hazardous or gentle, and to always keep their eyes on the waves. Life surfers prepare themselves to realize that at any given moment, life will present unexpected twists and turns, and have developed the physical, mental, and emotional fortitude to stay strong when the unexpected occurs.
To an ocean surfer, no wave is the same. Although waves may look alike, they each have their own identity. One ocean surfer will ride the same wave differently than another ocean surfer. In our daily lives, every day is different. One person handles day-to-day change differently than another.
No ocean wave is separate from another, because they are all connected in a cycle of perpetual motion. The waves of change and uncertainty in our lives are also connected in a similar sense of perpetual motion, because they have a ripple effect, creating numerous waves that alter other events happening in our lives.
Some waves that ocean surfers see coming are higher than others, and offer more danger for them. Aware of the danger, they still paddle out to meet the challenge. Some waves appear without notice and are upon ocean surfers before they have a chance to react. Modern-day ocean surfers have adapted and maintain their edge by using smaller and lighter boards to attack and slash their way through the waves.
Some waves of change and uncertainty in our lives we see and others we don’t. Life surfers know that changes are never the same, and have become more adept at keeping their edge by adapting and coping with the rolling waves of change in their daily lives.
The waves and tides of the ocean are unpredictable, yet ocean surfers do not let this interfere with their passion to surf. Life surfers face change and uncertainty with a similar sense of passion and excitement.
I’ve integrated the concepts of ocean surfing to create Life Surfing, which after twenty-five years of teaching workshops, seminars, and corporate training classes, has proven invaluable to address stress, change, and crisis management.
I have personally used and continue to use specific techniques and exercises to maintain control when things around me aren’t.
My book discusses how change and uncertainty affect you, and the challenges they present. It offers techniques to help you maintain self-control in times of change and uncertainty. The book is a journey consisting of concepts discussed in each chapter that connect as you progress through the book. I start by discussing your natural resistance and fears regarding change and progress by offering insights into gaining confidence and providing techniques for remaining empowered when life becomes chaotic. I offer rapport-building exercises as well as techniques to use when dealing with people who make you nervous, uncomfortable, and anxious.
I’ll introduce you to the “CHARM” process, which consists of five components that, when utilized together, enable you to maintain self-control and become flexible to successfully ride through your changes and uncertainties in life. Exercises are offered throughout the book that will help you learn how to become a life surfer as well as enhancing your existing Life Surfing skills.
The best ocean surfers want to be the best and practice to hone their skills. They accept that they must compete against other surfers to prove their merit. The exercises in this book teach you new skills for riding the waves of change and uncertainty in your life, to enhance your Life Surfing skills.
The techniques and exercises provided in my book not only have the potential to help you become a great life surfer; they will also impact your life in positive ways and influence how you will ride your waves of change forever.
Like the waves in the ocean that never stop rolling in, so do the waves of change and uncertainty in your life. If you what to be in control during your times of change and uncertainly and learn how to be a life surfer, then click on the link below and purchase my book.