Lesson Learned for Business: My Kiteboarding Experience
If you’ve ever been kiteboarding, you know it is amazingly challenging.
I had a good lesson from a pretty epic fall.
I’ve always wanted to do kiteboarding.
I took a cruise into Bora Bora years ago.
If you’ve never been to Bora Bora, it is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places in the world.
I’ve been all over the world and I can’t think of a more beautiful place. It’s just amazing.
As the ship is coming in, I see this guy kiteboarding and he’s just flying along. He turns and all of a sudden, the board goes up like 30 or 40 feet and he does this massive jump.
I thought to myself, “Oh my God. I’ve got to learn how to do that.”
I’m naturally pretty athletic. I took a class in Turks and Caicos years ago and in three hours, I never really got it.
I got up for maybe a few seconds but it was fall after fall after fall after fall. It was crazy.
I finished the lesson with a massive headache and was convinced that I sucked. It was awful.
The guy who did the lesson was young and had never taken a lesson himself.
He told me that it took him a year to be able to kiteboard and get good at it.
He just bought the equipment, moved there, and did it every day.
I Had a Bad Instructor
I wondered if he was maybe a bad instructor because when we got there, we went straight out to the water, kind of showed me how to do the kite, and basically just told me to go, and go, and go.
Every time I would go, I would fall and it was incredibly frustrating.
This time, I took another lesson here in Dorado Beach from a guy who’s been boarding since the ’90s.
It is a little bit frustrating in the beginning.
There are actually two lessons in one here that I want to share with you.
If you’ve kiteboarded, let me know in the comments and tell me if it was easy or hard for you.
This time we spent basically two and a half hours before I even tried to get up.
That’s what’s crazy.
We got this little bitty kite and we flew this little kite on the land and then we got another kite, and we flew this bigger kite on the land, and then we got another bigger kite and flew it on the land.
I Was Getting Impatient
I’m like, “Oh my God. How many of these are we going to do?”
We finally went out there, got in the water and we flew the kite.
We kept flying the kites and doing all these exercises with the kite.
I’m thinking in my head that I want to get up already. I want to try to board. We’re going so slow.
Finally, it’s time to do the board. We get on the board and the guy didn’t realize I’m 210lbs so we had to get a bigger kite.
We come back and then it’s time for me to go. Finally!
The first time I got up, I went about 10 or 15 yards and I was like, “holy shit!” That was as far as I ever went in the three-hour lesson that I did last time.
Don’t get me wrong, I fell a handful of times but it was probably my 10th time or 12th time.
I flew, got up, stayed up, and went about 150 yards.
Lesson #1: You’ve Got to Go Slow to Go Fast
I was so frustrated because I took so long preparing, so long doing the kite, and so long getting the instructions.
It was a reminder for me that sometimes in life you’ve got to go slow to go fast.
I just tried to get up right away and I never got up on the last three-hour lesson.
It was so frustrating. I feel a hundred times. I never could do it and I was thinking it was me.
My instructor here told me if that was my experience, it wasn’t me. It was the instructor’s fault. He was trying to rush me.
Learn the Lesson First
There have been so many cases in business where you want to fly. You want to go fast but you haven’t learned the lessons you need to learn to go fast yet.
I’m not saying success is like kiteboarding where you need to prepare forever and need to take a ton of time learning.
Most people take too long learning but what happens is we get frustrated because we want to go fast now and we just can’t so we then beat ourselves up.
I used to have a philosophy in network marketing that if you enrolled enough people, they were going to do what they were going to do.
I’d just enroll one after another, after another, after another, and I wouldn’t meet with people.
I would enroll them over the phone because it was more efficient. It was faster.
I could enroll more people over the phone rather than driving around town, sitting at Starbucks, doing home meetings, and all that crap.
What I learned is I went fast as far as enrolling people but I got no duplication.
My group always grew very slow because I wasn’t taking the time to build relationships. I wasn’t taking time to train the new people that I enrolled.
What I learned in our profession is sometimes, just like kiteboarding, you’ve got to go slow to go fast.
Make Sure You’re Doing the Right Things, Not Just the Fast Things
If you have an aggressive personality, an A-Type, or red, whatever it may be, then you want to go as fast as possible, and sometimes, we don’t think about how important it is not just to go fast, but to do the right thing.
The right thing is building a solid relationship.
You have to make sure the person understands what they’re getting involved in. They need to understand what they need to be doing. You can’t just leave people on their own to go out and produce, throwing enough mud up against the wall to see what sticks.
Does this make sense?
Here’s what happened next.
I got up over and over and eventually, I fell.
It was nearing the end of my lesson and I had never gone more than 15 or 20 yards, but this time, I got up and I stayed up and I was flying.
I Forgot Everything and Fell Hard
My kite had caught the wind. I got the balance on the board. It was freakin’ phenomenal. I was so excited. For the first time, for any distance, I’m was going.
I’m holding the kite, I’m flying along, and I notice I keep getting closer and closer to the beach.
Obviously, you can’t just surf on the beach itself so I’m trying to steer it away, but I don’t really know how.
In my excitement, I forgot that I can just let go of the kite and it’ll come down.
I forget everything because I’m having so much fun.
I finally get onto the beach. My board hits the beach. I fall like crazy. I’m tumbling and the kites pulling me.
My knee cap looks like I’ve got to kneecaps. It is very swollen. I have burned off the hair on my other knee.
My back is all bruised, my neck is sore, and my elbow hurts.
I hurt all over.
Lesson #2: You’re Going to Fall
Lesson two is sometimes in life, sometimes in business, you’re going to fall and it is going to fucking hurt.
I just laid there.
Thank God my kids weren’t there. My mom had gone back to the house with them. If they had seen me, they would have freaked out because I tumbled a bunch of times.
I laid there thinking something was broken.
I started to wiggle my toes and moving my fingers and I could move my head but I was so winded that I couldn’t actually get up.
My instructor is running from 150 yards away. He’s sprinting to come to get me and someone else is coming on a golf cart.
This really hurt.
Physical Pain vs Emotional Pain
There’s been a lot of times in business where I have fallen and it may not have been a physical pain, it was emotional, but I’ll tell you what I’ve learned about physical pain.
When you have a physical pain as I have now, I can either get upset about it and beat myself up over the fact that I was so stupid that I flew into the beach or I can be grateful for the experience I had.
When you have emotional pain, you end up having both emotional and physical pain.
What I have chosen to do, even right after that is to say, you know what? It was totally worth it for the ride and my wounds will heal.
I’m not going to be upset about the fall. I’m not going to be upset about being injured because that robs me of the joy that I actually had in the boarding.
It’s a reminder that when you have physical pain, don’t add the emotional pain on top of it.
When you’re whining and complaining about the physical pain, the emotional pain gets added. That makes the physical pain worse.
I think pain is weakness leaving the body.
It happened and we’re going to move on.
I can’t wait to kiteboard again and not fall on the beach.
How Each Lesson Relates to Business
You’re going to fail in business.
If you haven’t failed in business yet, realize it’s coming.
You’re going to have challenges at some point.
When you have the challenges, you double up the pain if you beat yourself up about it.
I’m not saying you got to blame other people. That’s not it at all. That doesn’t get anything solved.
You never get better by blaming anyone else but it also means that you don’t have to beat yourself up.
You realize it’s all part of the game, it’s part of the learning process, and if you can avoid doubling up on the emotional pain, you’re going to be able to move fast, move forward much, much faster than if you sit around and just continue to beat yourself up.
That’s my lesson from kiteboarding.
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Go make life an adventure.
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#1 Best Selling Author of The Unemployed Millionaire