Biggest fear realised! I’m offered the ‘opportunity’ to be involved in a ‘career transition’. Shellshock! What do you do when outside forces close an 18-year chapter of your life just like that? When you have to step out of the safe zone and face a wide blue unknown? My suggestion? … Embrace the opportunity and ride the wave!
I’d guessed what that rare mandatory call would be about, and that morning I read an article on how to be a survivor and to look at ‘career transition’ as the chance to spread my wings. Somehow, I had to embark on the next chapter by seeing it as an exciting (though daunting) new mission.
Before I could explore a new direction for my life, I needed to let go of the old one. Having worked solidly for those 18 years, I needed a break to change my pattern and to reconnect with what really makes me happy - enjoying the summer season with family and friends. That’s what life should be about, right?
One night enjoying a taco or two with friends, the conversation turned to learning to surf. They had Groupon vouchers for surf lessons and urged me to join them. Surfing was on my bucket list but, busy in the safe zone, I’d always put if off. Now, in need of an adventure, I jumped at the chance. So one Friday morning that November 2014, in a carpark at Big Bay, Cape Town, an unlikely gaggle of prospective surfers assembled. We were all ages and sizes, but united in the willingness to take on the Atlantic. By the end of the lesson, we were all bitten by the surfing bug!
You have to respect the wide blue ocean. It’s inhospitably freezing. It doesn’t care if you’re a ‘natural’ or ‘goofy footed surfer; it’ll wave-dump you all just the same, especially when you think you’ve got the hang of it. It makes you embrace humility, but there’s something liberating about laughing at yourself and others. The frivolity wakes the child within, and what a rush when you get it right!
It was just like the wide blue yonder I was facing in my career. Evaluating my skills and joining forces with others to form a new company to offer them online business services. We worked it out together. It’s been scary and exhilarating, and far from easy, but it’s been fun too, and I’ve never felt so alive and eager to get up in the morning.
The lessons I learned in surfing could be applied to new ventures, too:
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE UKNOWN!